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The Practice of Water-Colour Painting 



MACMILLAN AND CO., Limited 

LONDON • BOMBAY • CALCUTTA 
MELBOURNE 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

NEW YORK ■ BOSTON • CHICAGO 

ATLANTA • SAN FRANCISCO 

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Ltd. 
TORONTO 



The Practice of 
Water-Colour Painting 

ILLUSTRATED BY THE WORK 
OF MODERN ARTISTS 



BY 

A. L. BALDRY 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR BY 
DISTINGUISHED ARTISTS 



MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED 

ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON 

1 9 1 1 
LL. 



G 
D 2130 

B3 



ha±^%Z- 



FOREWORD 

The art of water-colour painting is capable of 
being applied in so many ways, and has such a 
variety of technical possibilities, that an attempt 
to sum up its processes arbitrarily is practically 
impossible : the object of this book, therefore, is 
to show how futile any such attempt would be, 
and in proof whereof there is given a series of 
personal explanations of the methods of certain 
representative water-colour painters who hold high 
rank as exponents of the art ; artists selected 
because they differ so much from one another in 
their artistic outlook and in their mode of technical 
production. The student who compares their 
methods will see that the widest possible range 
of expression is permissible in water-colour painting 
without any departure from the fundamental prin- 
ciples of this form of practice. He will be able 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

to choose, by the light of the experience of men 
who are masters of their craft, the way in which 
he is himself most likely to attain success ; and 
he will be able to judge how to secure that 
command over the mechanism of water-colour that 
he needs for the right development of his own 
artistic preferences. 



VI 



CONTENTS 



Painting in Water-Colour 

Mr. Edwin Alexander, R.W.S, A.R.S.A. 

Mr. R. W. Allan, V.P.R.B.C, R.W.S. 

Mrs. Allingham, R.W.S. . 

Mr. Wilfrid Ball, R.B.C., R.E. 

Mr. Frank Brangwyn, A.R.A. . 

Sir Alfred East, A.R.A., P.R.B.A. . 

Mr. George S. Elgood, R.I. 

Mr. W. Russell Flint 

Mr. Albert Goodwin, R.W.S. . 

Mr. W. Ayerst Ingram, P.R.B.C, R.I. 

Mr. Francis E. James, A.R.W.S. 

Mr. Herbert Marshall, R.W.S. 

Mr. Edwin Noble, R.B.A. . 

Mr. Alfred Powell .... 

Mr. Arthur Rackham, V.P.R.W.S. . 

Mr. Arthur Wardle 

Sir Ernest Waterlow, R.A., P. R.W.S. 

vii 



i 
2 7 
33 
39 
45 
5i 
57 
63 
69 
75 
81 

87 

93 

97 

103 

109 

"5 
119 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 



Mr. J. R. Weguelin, R.W.S 125 

Mr. J. Walter West, R.W.S 131 

Hints on Sketching Out of Doors . . . 137 

Tempera as an Alternative to Water-Colour . 153 

Mixed Mediums 161 



vin 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Forty Winks 


E. Alexander, R.W.S, A.R.S.A. 


27 


Marauders . 


» » » 


3° 


Sunset — A Sketch 


R. W. Allan, V.P.R.B.C, R.W.S. 33 


Ferryden 


)) » 5) 


36 


The Old Inn 


Helen Allingham, R.W.S. 


39 


The New Doll 


» J3 


42 


Bosham 


Wilfrid Ball, R.B.C., R.E. 


45 


On the Flats 


5) » 


48 


La Roque 


Frank Brangwyn, A.R.A. 


5i 


The Bridge, Valentre 


» 55 • 


54 


In an Essex Quarry 


Sir Alfred East, A.R.A., P.R.B.i* 


^ 57 


Greenwich on Bank 






Holiday . 


» » » 


60 


A Flower Study . 


George S. Elgood, R.I. . 


63 


The Garden, Melbourne 


3> 11 


66 


The White Cloud 


. W. Russell Flint . 


69 


A Sketch 


„ ... 


72 


Winchester . 


. Albert Goodwin, R.W.S. . 


75 


Bristol . 


n » 


78 



IX 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 



A Breezy Day 


W. Ayerst Ingram, P.R.B.C, R.I. 81 


A Sea Fog . 


55 55 


„ 8 4 


Roses .... 


Francis E. James, A.R.W.S. 


87 


Lilies .... 


» n 


90 


Enkluisen 


Herbert M. Marshall, R.W.S. 


93 


A Thames Sketch 


55 55 


• 94 


Full Cry . 


Edwin Noble, R.B.A. 


97 


The Farm Yard . 


55 JS 


. 100 


Dittisham on the Dart . 


Alfred Powell . 


103 


Leith Hill, Surrey 


55 ... 


. 106 


Villars— A Sketch 


Arthur Rackham, V.P.R.W.S. 


109 


The King and the 






Swineherd 


55 55 


112 


Jabiru Storks 


Arthur Wardle 


• "5 


Jaguar and Macaw 


55 


. 116 


Juan Les Pins — A 






Sketch 


Sir E. A. Waterlow, R.A.. 






P.R.W.S. . 


119 


A Sussex Windmill 


Sir E. A. Waterlow, R.A.. 






P.R.W.S. . 


122 


A Mermaid — A Sketch 


J. R. Weguelin, R.W.S. . 


125 


With Woven Paces and 






with Waving Hands 


55 55 


128 


The Paroquet 


J. Walter West, R.W.S. . 


J 3* 


The Paroquet — Pencil 






Sketch . 


55 55 


iu 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

There are certain definite and perfectly intelli- 
gible reasons for the particular character of the 
development through which the art of water- 
colour painting has gone in this country. The 
continuity of this development, its steady progress 
stage by stage, and its consistent advance from 
small beginnings to results of the greatest possible 
importance, cannot by any means be ascribed to 
chance ; there has been a sequence of causes each 
of which has had its full effect in directing the 
evolution of the art and in shaping its character- 
istics. All these causes have left their mark in 
turn upon the work which has been produced 
by successive generations of water-colour painters, 
and they have all helped in the building up of 
the traditions by which the art is controlled 
to-day. 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

It is undeniably true that all forms of artistic 
production are appreciably influenced by the con- 
ditions under which the producers work, and by 
the surroundings in which they find themselves. 
Locality plays a part of no little importance in 
determining the style and manner of an art and 
in fixing the way in which it should be prac- 
tised ; indeed, the popularity and success of many 
technical processes are directly due to purely local 
circumstances, which have affected mechanically 
or aesthetically the whole trend of artistic ex- 
pression. For instance, in Japan the main prin- 
ciples of a very characteristic architectural style 
have been decided by the necessity which exists 
there of being always prepared for the possibility 
of an earthquake ; the more solid building con- 
struction suitable to other countries would there 
be inconvenient and even dangerous. Again, in 
India, the traditional carvings, with their delicate 
elaboration of detail and unusual lowness of relief, 
are evidently designed with consideration for the 
strong and sharply defined shadows cast by a 
tropical sun. Similar examples of the connection 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

between local conditions and artistic development 
could be multiplied ; they are common enough in 
the record of the art of the world. 

Therefore, it is not unreasonable to seek to 
account for the remarkable growth of the British 
water-colour school by reference to the influences 
to which it has been subjected here. Among the 
chief of these influences is that of climate ; the 
humid, insular atmosphere in which we live is 
peculiarly helpful to the water-colour painter in 
more ways than one. It provides him with a 
great deal of subject matter that lends itself well 
to interpretation by means of a dainty and luminous 
medium — landscape motives that require excep- 
tional subtlety of colour treatment, and atmo- 
spheric effects that are exquisitely delicate in their 
gradations of tone and in their elusive variety of 
suggestion. It gives him pictorial material that 
no other technical process can so efficiently trans- 
late, and that needs especially for its proper ex- 
pression the inherent lightness and transparency of 
the water-colour wash. 

But most of all, perhaps, the insular climate 

3 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

helps the water-colour painter by creating the 
conditions under which the essential properties of 
the medium can be turned to the best advantage. 
In air that is moderately damp, water-colour can 
be far more conveniently handled than in a dry 
atmosphere which encourages very rapid evapora- 
tion. Some of the best results which are within 
the reach of the water- colourist are obtained by 
manipulation of the washes and touches while 
they remain wet, and too rapid drying of his work 
prevents him from gaining certain qualities of 
execution which are desirable if not indispensable. 
The beauty of many of the finest water-colours 
which have been produced by British artists, their 
tenderness, their breadth of effect, and their purity 
of colour, can be ascribed not unjustly to the 
influence of a favourable climate, and can be 
claimed as being in some sort the outcome of 
geographical situation. 

However, the personal element has also to be 
taken into account in estimating the significance 
of the movement which brought the British water- 
colour school into existence. The intentions and 

4 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

capacities of the artists who are active in the 
direction of such a movement, and whose influence 
is exercised consciously or unconsciously in bring- 
ing it under the proper control, have much to do 
with the completeness of the result which is 
ultimately attained. We have been obviously 
fortunate in possessing so many men able to per- 
ceive fully and practically the way in which they 
could profit by the local advantages they enjoyed, 
and ready to make the best possible artistic use 
of their natural opportunities. These men were 
prompt to recognise the genius of the medium 
with which they had to deal, and to see how 
well it could be made to serve them in their 
efforts to reach the highest level of achievement ; 
they did not spend too much time over prelimin- 
aries, but proceeded as quickly as possible to 
build on the foundation they had laid a system 
of practice which was capable of the widest 
extension. 

Indeed, the experimental and tentative stage 
with which our water-colour school began about 
a century ago, lasted for only a comparatively brief 

5 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

period. The earliest British water-colours were 
chiefly " stained drawings," that is to say, drawings 
made with the pencil or the pen, to which a 
suggestion of colour — it was rarely more than a 
suggestion — was added by means of flat washes. 
The purpose of these drawings was mainly utili- 
tarian, they were mostly topographical views 
intended for reproduction by engraving, and they 
were prepared with more consideration for the 
engraver's convenience than for the artistic 
possibilities of the medium employed. They 
followed, in fact, a narrow and rather feeble con- 
vention, and were almost entirely mechanical in 
manner. 

But among the men who were engaged upon 
work of this class, there were even then some who 
were anxious to find a wider scope for their in- 
dividuality. They had some warrant for their 
belief that the medium was capable of much 
greater development, because they could refer to 
the sketches of the older Italian, German, and 
Netherlandish masters, who had used water-colour 

occasionally for notes and studies of a purely 

6 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

pictorial kind. Even in England there was a 
precedent in the water-colour work of Gains- 
borough, who had made important experiments 
in this manner of practice. These earlier ex- 
amples, slight as they were, pointed a direction 
in which much might be accomplished, and were 
distinctly inspiring in the suggestions they made 
to artists who were seeking the way out of a 
rather dull convention. 

It was during the first half of the eighteenth 
century that the signs of the new purpose in 
British water-colour painting began to be de- 
finitely perceptible. Some of the topographical 
draughtsmen — the names of William Taverner, 
Samuel Scott, and John Joshua Kirby may be 
particularly mentioned — showed a certain inclina- 
tion towards more personal modes of expression 
than were customary at that moment. Their 
attempts to be unconventional were timid enough, 
but they counted for something as evidences of a 
desire to substitute the actual study of nature 
for a dry formality which had in it scarcely any 

trace of naturalism. 

7 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

The man, however, who really grasped the 
necessities of the situation with vigour and in- 
telligence was Paul Sandby. He has been called, 
with some justice, the father of the British water- 
colour school, on account of the influence he exer- 
cised over his younger contemporaries, and the 
importance of his intervention in artistic affairs 
throughout his long life. He was born in 1725, 
and died in 1809, so that he saw the rise of many 
of the greatest British masters of water-colour ; 
and as he was busily engaged as a teacher during 
a large part of his career he can fairly be said to 
have been directly or indirectly responsible for 
the striking progress of the art in the last quarter 
of the eighteenth century. The time was ripe 
for the appearance of a broad-minded and judicious 
leader who could control the rather vague aspira- 
tions of the men around him, and point out to 
them the way in which their energies could best 
be applied ; and he was exactly the type of leader 
to fill the position which circumstances had created 
for him. 

For what Sandby especially did was to reduce 

8 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

to order the incoherent rebellion against cramping 
conventions and deadening formalities which was 
being started by the topographical draughtsmen. 
He was himself trained as a topographer and 
gave a good deal of his life to work of this 
character, so that he had a thorough experience 
of water-colour painting of the mechanical kind. 
But he possessed more fully than any of his 
immediate contemporaries an original sense of 
artistic responsibility, and he had, too, the courage 
to assert his convictions against prevailing custom. 
He saw that his records of fact could be absolutely 
accurate and yet be not only personal in manner 
but also suggestive of nature's variety and charm 
— that they could be works of art as well as 
statements of bare realities. 

So, as opportunities came to him, he freed 
himself more and more from the restrictions 
which hampered his liberty of action as an artist. 
He made excursions beyond the bounds of topo- 
graphy into imaginative compositions and into 
pure landscape painting ; he sought for and inter- 
preted the sentiment of nature sympathetically and 

9 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

thoughtfully ; he learned how to manage his pig- 
ments and to make them express effects of colour 
and tone naturalistically instead of conventionally. 
He became, in a word, a sincere nature student 
with the courage of opinions based on serious 
observation, and with a grasp of technical processes 
which was sure and confident. 

In his development was typified the evolution 
which was proceeding in the whole of the water- 
colour school during the period covered by his 
life. Helped, beyond doubt, by his example and 
precept, other men were systematising their study, 
were asserting their independence, and were learn- 
ing to look properly to nature for inspiration and 
assistance, not only in choice of subject but, as 
well, in the manner in which they should treat 
the subjects they selected. The primitive "stained 
drawings " lingered on for a while because not 
all the water-colourists were bold enough to 
break away from the fashion to which they had 
grown accustomed, and because, no doubt, not 
all of them could appreciate the importance of 

close contact with nature ; but when the new 

10 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

movement was once really started it went forward 

without a check, and gained year by year an ever 

increasing number of adherents and supporters. 

When Paul Sandby died British water-colour 

painting was in a position very unlike that which 

it had occupied when he commenced his work 

fifty or sixty years before. Such artists as 

Alexander Cozens, and his son, John Robert 

Cozens, Devis, Hearne, Pars, Rooker, the two 

Cleveleys, William Payne, and Nicholas Pocock, 

to mention a few of the many men who were 

prominent, had helped greatly in raising the 

standard of practice and had done much to prove 

to the public that Sandby 's estimate of the 

possibilities of water-colour was in no way 

exaggerated. But the full manifestation of the 

strength of the new gospel which he had been 

preaching came at the beginning of the nineteenth 

century when those supreme masters, Turner, De 

Wint, and David Cox, with other eminent painters 

like J. S. Cotman and Copley Fielding, arrived 

at maturity. Girtin, a genius who might have 

been the greatest master of them all, had lived 

ii 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

his brief life during the last quarter of the 
eighteenth century, and had died seven years 
before Sandby ; but, even so, he must be reckoned 
as one of the chief helpers by whom the work 
of the pioneers was carried to completion, because 
he showed emphatically his entire acceptance of 
the aesthetic principles which they laboured so 
sincerely to establish. 

By 1809 the old fashion in water-colour was 
gone ; its restrictions and conventions had no 
longer any power over the artists and no influence 
upon the public taste. The few men who were 
still working in the earlier manner were simply 
survivals from other days, and had ceased to be 
in touch with the spirit of the world about them. 
All the younger artists were in the new move- 
ment and were eagerly seeking to prove that 
they were fully conscious of their responsibility 
under the improved conditions of the art in which 
they were interested, and that they understood 
what were the possibilities of accomplishment 
opened up to them by the change which had 
been brought about. 



12 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

To this eagerness was due a remarkable 
activity in production as well as an increase in 
the vitality of the art which was not less notable 
for its effect upon the popularity of water-colour 
painting. Societies which concerned themselves 
only with the advancement of this particular form 
of practice came into existence, and by gathering 
round them a host of supporters with genuinely 
artistic inclinations did much to put the water- 
colourists more closely in touch with the public. 
These societies, too, brought into association the 
men who had the highest qualifications for leader- 
ship, whose example and influence could affect 
most strongly the rising generation of workers, 
and who could prove by actual demonstration 
what was the direction in which the popular 
favour could most profitably be sought. Organisa- 
tion gave the water-colour school authority and 
the power to claim consideration, and made it a 
prominent factor in art politics. 

Under these conditions the rise of the greater 
masters during the first quarter of the nineteenth 
century came as a natural step in the evolution of 

13 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

the school. They were not compelled, as they 
might have been years before, to suppress their 
aspirations under the necessity of making a living 
by doing mere journeyman work ; they were 
happily allowed a wider scope for their activity, 
and they found themselves encouraged to move 
onwards always to the completer expression of 
their convictions. They had the better type of 
art lovers on their side, so things went sufficiently 
well with them. 

Therefore it came about that men like Turner, 
Cox, and De Wint were able to take advantage 
fully of the opportunities which they enjoyed as 
water-colour painters living and working in the 
British Isles. And how they responded to the 
inspiration of their surroundings can be very 
plainly perceived in the manner and quality of 
their paintings. Turner's marvellous grasp of 
atmospheric subtleties, his infallible understanding 
of varieties of aerial effect, and his rare skill in 
representing the spaciousness of remote distances 
seen through a veil of misty air could scarcely 
have been acquired so completely in any other 

14 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

country. Great master as he was, and great as 
he would almost certainly have been in any 
surrounding, he owed unquestionably the full 
training of his powers of expression to the large 
experience of nature in all her moods which came 
to him as a result of ceaseless observation of the 
atmosphere of his native land. 

The same can be said of Cox, of De Wint, 
Copley Fielding, Cotman, and of all the other 
painters who helped to raise water-colour land- 
scape to its great position as an essentially British 
phase of artistic achievement. Cox's open - air 
notes with their tender breezy skies, and gleams 
of sunlight, De Wint's broad, serene, and dignified 
studies with their large massing of tones, Field- 
ing's luminous landscapes and sea-pieces full of 
movement reflect absolutely the impressions made 
by local characteristics upon temperaments sensi- 
tive and responsive. In all this work there is a 
revelation of personal views about the ways in 
which nature can be interpreted which is exceed- 
ingly instructive, and there is also plainly expressed 
an intention to assert these views with a sincere 

*5 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

and intelligent unconventionality. The present- 
day student of water-colour can learn much indeed 
about the fundamental principles of the art by 
analysing the methods and examining the inten- 
tions of these earlier masters. He can see how 
they respected these principles, and how they 
strove to use the local advantages they possessed 
to attain the fullest measure of artistic expression ; 
but he can see too that they held themselves free 
to deal with nature in the way that they personally 
preferred. 

It must be remembered that the artists of this 
period were tasting the first joys of emancipation. 
They had thrown aside the earlier tradition as 
useless and inconvenient, and they were themselves 
building up a new tradition which was peculiarly 
fitted to the requirements of the school to which 
they belonged and capable of the widest applica- 
tion. They had decisively enlarged their view of 
artistic responsibility, and they had grasped boldly 
the vital fact that their own personal impres- 
sions of nature were the only ones which it was 

worth their while to set down. So they were 

16 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

introducing into British water - colour painting 
a sentiment which had been hardly perceptible 
in it before, a sentiment clean, wholesome, and 
joyous, which was derived directly from the 
nature they worshipped and in which there was 
no taint of either affectation or expediency. Each 
man had learned to see for himself and to believe 
in himself ; and each one consequently was able to 
contribute something definitely valuable to the 
common stock of aesthetic conviction which was 
to serve as the endowment of the school. 

Happily, the spirit of these men did not die 
with them ; as they began so those who succeeded 
to them continued. To the present day the local 
tradition and the local sentiment have been main- 
tained unaltered in our water-colour painting. 
The immediate successors of the first great group 
of masters were quite as keen in their desire for 
the advancement of the art in which they were 
interested, and quite as strenuous in their efforts to 
carry it forward in the right direction. They 
sought as sincerely to develop the tradition of 

serious nature study, and to make a rational and 

17 c 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

judicious actuality the dominating principle in all 
their productions. Year by year the outlook of 
the water-colour painters widened as they found 
fresh material they could deal with in the manner 
which they recognised as appropriate and legiti- 
mate, and year by year the hold of the water- 
colour school upon art lovers of the better sort 
has become more firmly established. 

A long list, indeed, could be made of the men 
who came to maturity during the latter half of the 
nineteenth century — men who have a right to be 
reckoned among the masters of water-colour, and 
whose activities have been both important in 
themselves and valuable in their effect upon the 
vitality and progress of the school. Landscape 
painters like Thomas Collier, A. W. Hunt, W. 
Callow, E. M. Wimperis, A. W. Weedon, and 
that admirable student of nature, Henry Moore, 
whose pictures of sea and sky are of almost un- 
approachable excellence ; figure painters like Fred 
Walker, G. J. Pinwell, Sir John Gilbert, George 
Cattermole, E. J. Gregory, and that popular 

favourite, Birket Foster ; animal painters like 

18 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

that superlative master, J. M. Swan, and a crowd 
of others, whose management of the medium was 
as skilful as their judgment of artistic essentials 
was well balanced, must be held in honour as 
worthy successors of the pioneers by whom the 
possibilities of water-colour painting were first 
explored. Of these artists some were simply 
followers of the earlier masters and, as followers, 
were content to accept without question the 
methods as well as the tradition which their 
masters had handed down to them, but others 
were seekers after new ways of expression, experi- 
mentalists who were anxious to discover fresh 
applications of the principles by which their art 
was directed. 

The result of this healthy variety of opinion 
about details of practice has been to keep the 
vitality of the school at its highest level. Its 
stability has been ensured by the sober respect 
which a certain number of the nineteenth-century 
water-colourists have shown for the example of 
their leaders, its development has been encouraged 
by the energy of the other painters who have been 

i9 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

seeking to interpret in ways of their own the 
lessons they have learned, and its future has to all 
appearance been made safe by the enlargement of 
its sphere of activity and by the opening up of 
many new directions in which it can fittingly 
appeal for popular support. At the present 
moment British water-colour painting is in a 
condition of remarkable vigour ; it has passed 
successfully through all its preparatory stages and 
it has arrived at its full expression without losing 
on the way any of its freshness or freedom. 
Certainly it has not become stereotyped ; there is 
no sign to-day of the growth of any prevailing 
mannerism or of the adoption of any easy 
convention which will save the artists from the 
trouble of thinking for themselves. None of the 
defects, indeed, which are apt to appear in an art 
movement as it matures have as yet made them- 
selves perceptible, and the sense of initiative 
among the workers, their desire to do the best 
with the means at their disposal, and their ap- 
preciation of the obligations they incur as ex- 
ponents of water-colour art are seemingly as 



20 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

much alive as they were in the days when the 
old " stained drawing " convention was first broken 
through by the apostles of a new aesthetic creed. 

And what is to be the future of water-colour 
painting in this country ? That is a question to 
which no one can pretend to prophesy an answer. 
What has been done in the past, what is being 
done at the present moment by artists of power and 
distinction can be counted, at least, as increasing 
definitely the sum total of the art of the world; 
but it rests with the artists themselves, present 
and future, to make or mar the school in genera- 
tions to come. The plain duty of the men of 
to-day is so to deal with their inheritance that 
it can be handed on, not merely intact but 
amplified and improved, to their descendants, 
who will, we may hope, estimate as highly 
as we do the treasure that the last century has 
brought to us. That there is no shirking of 
this duty to be discovered now justifies the belief 
that our immediate successors, at all events, will 
not be able to excuse themselves for any lapse by 

blaming us for having set them a bad example. 

21 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

But, naturally, the quality of the progress 
which is to be made in years to come depends 
upon the way in which these successors of ours 
realise the significance of the opportunities which 
we have provided for them. If they see that the 
regard for vital principles which is characteristic 
of our attitude towards the art does not cramp 
individuality of expression, and that our work, with 
all its respect for tradition, has been lacking neither 
in variety nor in sterling originality, they will 
surely be anxious to tread in our footsteps and to 
keep their own production on sane lines. So long 
as they do this there will be no waning in the 
glory of the British water-colour school. 

The almost inevitable result of any relaxation 
of effort would be the loss of that pre-eminent 
position which British water-colourists now occupy 
in the art world. Already the artists of other 
countries are competing keenly with us and are 
proving beyond dispute that they understand very 
well indeed what are the particular principles 
which govern this painting method. Doubtless 
they owe much to study of our masters, but they 

22 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

know how to apply the lessons they have learned 
and how to adapt their knowledge to meet the 
local conditions under which their work has to be 
carried on. They have evolved their own way of 
handling the medium, they express with its assist- 
ance the aesthetic sentiment that is appropriate to 
them, and they have an independence of outlook 
and manner that absolves them entirely from the 
reproach of having merely adopted the ideas of 
other people. It is this independence that makes 
them such dangerous competitors, for it puts them 
beside us in the race for supremacy. 

In Holland, for instance, there has grown up 
within comparatively few years a school of water- 
colourists which has already established a remark- 
able record of sound and well-considered achieve- 
ment. It has secured the co-operation of many of 
the most able of the modern Dutch artists whose 
paintings are especially memorable for their dignity 
and breadth of style, and for the admirable 
management which is revealed in them of the 
better qualities of the medium. The power and 
directness of these paintings, their purity of 

23 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

method, and their Tightness in summing up the 
facts of nature give them the strongest possible 
claim to attention, and in their sincerity of con- 
viction they are comparable with the best of the 
work that has been produced anywhere else. 

That water-colour should be practised with so 
much success, and with such genuine appreciation 
of its capabilities, by the Dutch artists is not in 
any way surprising. The atmospheric conditions 
in Holland are wholly favourable to the painter 
in this medium, and help him, as they do in the 
British Isles, to get the best results from his 
materials. There is something eminently in- 
spiring in the aerial effects, in the magnificent 
cloud masses, and in the subtle tone gradations 
of misty atmosphere which are characteristic 
of the country, something stimulating in nature's 
ruggedness and in the vehemence of mood 
which she is apt to display there ; and there 
is certainly a satisfying variety of pictorial 
motives from which the artist can make his 
selection. At present, it may be admitted that 

the outlook of the Dutch water-colourists is 

24 



PAINTING IN WATER-COLOUR 

narrower than that of our own men, and that they 
limit themselves more definitely in their choice of 
material and in their manner of dealing with it ; 
but a school which has already reached so high a 
standard of craftsmanship, and which within its 
boundaries shows so large a measure of artistic 
intelligence, is capable of wide expansion. 

Much excellent work in water-colour is also 
being produced both in Italy and in France. 
There is a tendency among the Italians to overdo 
the crispness of touch and the precision of brush- 
work which are possible in water-colour painting 
that concerns itself more with the clever statement 
of detail than with the suggestion of broad effects, 
and this tendency is accountable for the production 
of many things that are brilliant, undeniably, but a 
little unsympathetic and superficial. But there is 
also a quite considerable group of Italian artists 
who are painting both in water-colour and in 
tempera with a fluent directness of method and a 
dignified breadth of generalisation that can be 
frankly admired. In France, too, there is the same 
tendency towards dry precision, and there are similar 

25 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

exceptions from the prevailing rule — water-colour 
painters like the veteran, M. Harpignies, who 
use the medium with judgment and fine taste and 
with a true understanding of its inherent technical 
advantages. 

Decidedly, if there is now no water-colour 
school abroad which equals our own in compre- 
hensive understanding of the resources of this form 
of artistic practice, there is more than one which 
might conceivably take our place in the future if 
we allowed ourselves to forget the duty which is 
imposed upon us by our great traditions, and to 
sink into mere followers of a convention. We 
must keep the spirit of the art strenuously alive, 
we must relax none of our keen individuality in 
the interpretation of vital principles, we must 
cherish devoutly the spirit of our artistic ancestors 
and prove always that we have a full share of their 
enthusiasm and clearness of purpose. So long as 
we do this we shall have no reason to fear the 
competition of any other school of water-colour 
painting. 



26 





2 



■ 



MR. EDWIN ALEXANDER, R.W.S., A.R.SA. 

Although Mr. Edwin Alexander does not confine 
himself to only one class of subject, he has certainly 
shown in his water-colour work a preference for 
the study of animal life. He paints beasts and 
birds, living and dead, with brilliant actuality, and 
yet with a fascinating originality of manner which 
prevents his realism from ever becoming common- 
place. His purpose is evidently not to present 
facts in an obvious way, but to use them, with all 
possible respect, as the basis for pictorial arrange- 
ments in which he can give full play to his sense 
of design, his feeling for expressive handling, and 
his love of harmonious colour. The technical 
charm of his paintings is always beyond dispute, 
and they have, too, the attractiveness of a personal 
style which reveals the temperamental attitude of 

the painter to his subjects. 

27 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

This attitude is one which he defends logically 
enough on the ground that it is inexpedient to make 
laws in the practice of art which define for all time 
the way in which things should be done. He 
contends that it is decidedly arbitrary to insist that 
the method adopted by certain men in the past in 
dealing with a particular class of material should 
be imposed as immutable upon all their successors 
who may wish to handle this same material ; and 
he feels that, as in painting the end may fairly be 
said to justify the means, an artist should be free to 
choose for himself the mode of procedure which 
will bring him most directly to the end that appears 
to him desirable. 

For a number of years past Mr. Alexander has 
painted upon either unbleached packing paper, or 
linen, and he has chosen to work in body-colour 
because it lies better than ordinary transparent 
water-colour upon either the paper or the linen, 
both of which are decidedly absorbent. He likes 
a paper which has a definite tint dark enough to 
represent the general half-tone of his subject, 

and in cases where this tint happens to be too 

28 



MR. EDWIN ALEXANDER 

light he lowers it by putting a wash over the 
whole surface before he begins the actual painting 
of his picture. To start with the general half- 
tone already stated is in his view a better system 
than to cover a sheet of white paper, piece by 
piece, with washes until the tone quality he wants 
is obtained. 

Moreover, working, as he does, in body-colour, 
the use of the toned paper enables him to realise 
his effect with great rapidity, and as many of the 
subjects he selects have to be done very much 
against time everything that makes for speed is 
helpful to him. Often his studies which need 
very quick statement are set down straight away 
and not touched again, and yet, thanks to the 
assistance of the toned ground, they have the 
appearance of being carefully elaborated paintings 
with a full gradation of colour and ample variety of 
light and shade. 

Concerning his manner of handling body- 
colour it can certainly be said that he avoids 
that dryness of surface and that dull chalkiness of 

colour which come sometimes from the injudicious 

29 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

use of opaque pigments. But really, though he 
mixes white with practically all his colours, he 
puts on his touches so liquidly that they have a 
quality which is scarcely distinguishable from that 
possessed by the washes in an ordinary water-colour 
painting ; in fact his pictures become to all intents 
and purposes simple wash drawings. When he is 
trying for a higher degree of finish than he usually 
aims at in his rapid sketches he does not hesitate to 
lift off and alter his touches wherever changes or 
additions seem necessary to improve the effect of 
his work. It is not difficult to take out washes 
and to replace them by others without destroying 
the clean precision of his touch, and without 
injuring the freshness of his colour. Indeed, he 
claims that in this way he can gain a greater play 
of colour effect than is possible by other means, 
because he has available opportunities of contrasting 
opaque touches with those that are semi-transparent, 
and of combining agreeably pigments of different 
textures. 

The colours he generally uses are yellow 
ochre, aureolin, burnt sienna, Venetian red, viridian, 

3° 



MR. EDWIN ALEXANDER 

French blue, raw umber, Vandyke brown, ivory 
black, and Chinese white ; and occasionally ver- 
milion, rose madder or alizarin, light red, raw 
sienna, and Turner brown or sepia. 



3i 



MR. R. W. ALLAN, V.P.R.B.C., R.W.S. 

The strength, directness, and frankness of intention 
which are special characteristics of Mr. R. W. 
Allan's work in water-colour make his productions 
of no small Value as objects oi study. There is, 
indeed, much to be learned from them as to the 
manner in which results of the greatest significance 
can be obtained by the straightforward use of 
materials, and by absolute simplicity in the manage- 
ment of the medium. The student can see in Mr. 
Allan's paintings how water-colour will respond to 
the artist's intentions, when these intentions are 
guided by a clear understanding of the char- 
acter and nature of the subject which is to be 
interpreted, and how a perfectly intelligible 
representation of this subject can be arrived at 
without tricks of handling, or laborious mechanical 

devices. 

33 D 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

In fact, the one great lesson which Mr. Allan 
has been teaching through many years of busy 
production is that the first necessity for all con- 
vincing achievement is a distinct mental impression 
of the motive which is to be translated into a 
pictorial form, and that the clearness of this im- 
pression must be retained through all the pro- 
cesses of execution. The straightforwardness of 
his work is in a great measure due to the fact that 
he can see beforehand just what the result should 
be that he proposes to produce. He has grasped 
the thing as a whole, and every touch he puts on 
is designed to add no more and no less than he 
requires of it to the building up of the final, com- 
pleted picture. He has visualised the finished 
thing before he begins, and he has decided how 
his touches are to be set down, so that each 
will fit with the other, like the pieces in a puzzle, 
and make its own contribution to the general 
design. 

He begins with the slightest indication in 
pencil on the paper — with a suggestion of the 
main forms of the subject, so as to settle the 

34 



MR. R. W. ALLAN 

spacing of the composition — and then proceeds to 
lay in his colour with a full brush on the dry 
paper, and as nearly as possible at full pitch. 
Every wash is carefully drawn with the brush, and 
the touches placed side by side, without any in- 
tentional blending, to make a mosaic-like pattern 
by which his impression of the chosen scene can 
be conveyed. When this pattern is properly filled 
in the picture is finished ; there is no super- 
imposing of wash on wash, and there is no 
working over the first lay -in except where 
smaller details have to be added in the large 
colour masses. The same crispness of touch is 
used in the drawing of these details as in the 
statement of the bigger facts. 

As a rule Mr. Allan does not resort to any de- 
vices like sponging or washing down to give soft- 
ness to his work, but if a correction or alteration 
has to be made he does not hesitate to wash out the 
part of the painting that fails to satisfy him, and 
to fill the gap again with direct and definitely 
drawn touches. The point that he insists upon is 
that there should be no fumbling or uncertainty 

35 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

in the manner of applying the pigments. If 
changes are necessary they must first be carefully 
considered, and then carried out with just as much 
confidence as if they had formed part of the scheme 
from the first ; to hesitate over them would be to 
destroy the conviction of the work all through. 
For very small alterations he might occasionally 
use body-colour, otherwise he always paints trans- 
parently. 

Clearly, success in water-colour of this vigorous 
type is only within the reach of the artist who 
can grasp the essentials of a subject with certainty, 
and whose vision of nature is both comprehensive 
and discriminating. It would be impossible with 
such a method to play about and try experiments 
in suggestion, with the hope that something 
effective might result ; and it would be useless 
to allow accident to take the place of deliberate 
intention. He must have the picture complete 
in his mind before he attempts to transfer it to 
paper — if he has not, he can expect nothing but 
failure. 

The colours Mr. Allan uses are yellow 
36 




7- 



MR. R. W. ALLAN 

ochre, permanent yellow, lemon yellow, cobalt, 
indigo, raw sienna, burnt sienna, light red, 
extract of vermilion, rose madder, brown madder, 
Vandyke brown, raw umber, and black. 



37 




1t/0 



ll.hu .-U/i/^-'ia,,.: A'./l". 



THE OLD I\\ 



MRS. ALLINGHAM, R.W.S. 

An atmosphere of dainty sentiment pervades the 
whole of Mrs. Allingham's production, an atmo- 
sphere that is charming in its consistent delicacy 
and refinement, and in its gentle persuasiveness. 
The subjects she prefers, and with which she 
has made her greatest successes, are chosen from 
rustic life ; they illustrate characteristically the 
attractive side of rural existence and the beauty 
of a world in which there are still lingering some 
traces of primitive peace and innocence. Her 
paintings are, no doubt, in the nature of idealisa- 
tions, for they show the fascination of the country 
under its most perfect conditions and they dis- 
regard entirely the grimmer aspects of life, but 
they have their full measure of truthful suggestion 
and are sufficiently imbued with the real pastoral 

spirit. 

39 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

In its manner her work may be said to belong 
to the school of which Fred Walker was the 
leader ; it has much of his tender feeling and 
exquisite precision of touch, and it is akin to 
his in both style and method. But it is marked 
also by very definite individuality, and it shows 
plainly the control of an eminently personal taste 
by which its character is determined and its 
intention directed. Mrs. Allingham, indeed, has 
taken a sound tradition and has interpreted it in 
a way that is quite her own ; she has applied 
its principles independently, using what there 
was in it that was likely to be helpful in the 
development of her own art, but making many 
additions and adaptations to bring it as thoroughly 
as possible into accord with her jesthetic conviction. 

It has always been her habit to make the 

closest possible study of nature ; this study, in 

fact, has been the guiding principle in her art 

and the basis upon which all her beliefs have 

been founded, At the same time she exercises 

a great deal of care in selecting from the infinite 

amount of material available in nature just that 

40 



MRS. ALLINGHAM 

which is most suitable for her purposes and 
which will help best to give to her work the 
right kind of sentiment. Her idealisation does 
not imply disregard of reality, but rather the 
elimination of the things which seem to her 
unnecessary from the facts which nature sets 
before her — what she actually selects is recorded 
with the strictest realism. 

Her method in painting is to copy with all 
fidelity what is before her, or rather, so much 
of what is before her as she wishes to repre- 
sent. Anything that jars or that is out of 
harmony with her pictorial intention she leaves 
out, and the resulting gaps in her composition 
are filled up with appropriate material gathered 
elsewhere, but studied with just as much care 
and with as exact observation of nature. For 
instance, a picturesque cottage, spoiled by un- 
sightly surroundings, would, under her method, 
be available as the main incident in her picture, 
but it would be provided with a more agreeable 
background and setting, painted from a better 
kind of subject matter. This compilation of 

4i 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

suitable details needs, of course, very judicious 
management, but when it is controlled, as it is 
in Mrs. Allingham's case, by artistic discretion 
and by a quite sincere regard for actuality, it 
leads to entirely acceptable results and it conveys 
a true impression of natural beauty. 

The technical process she usually follows is 
one of gradual building up by small touches rather 
than by broad washes. These touches are put 
on comparatively dry, and upon dry paper ; and, 
as a rule, no sponging or washing down is used 
to bring them together or to reduce their crisp- 
ness, nor is there any preliminary underpainting. 
The artist's aim is to realise as directly as possible 
the subject she has chosen, and to arrive at the 
end she has in view by simple and straightforward 
progression ; and if, as may happen occasionally, 
she resorts to any devices of softening or wash- 
ing out, it is rather for the sake of correcting 
a mistake than with the idea of gaining a par- 
ticular surface quality. It may be noted, too, 
that her method in sketching and finished painting 

is practically the same ; in a sketch her touch is, 

42 



•SI • >■ i .'. 




»*^J. 







*- 4pPH 



m-*. 



yi7V'''4;'tf 



iMcn Aiih^ha, „, a-.ii: 



lly /v< W.v,.7,i« of The h'iiif - hi .V,., /,/ 



THE NEW DULL. 



MRS. ALLINGHAM 

perhaps, a little looser and less precise, but this 
is the natural result of increased speed in work- 
ing rather than the outcome of a deliberate 
intention. 

The colours she generally uses are cobalt, 
ceruleum, permanent yellow, aureolin, orange 
cadmium, yellow ochre, raw sienna, rose madder, 
light red, and sepia. 



43 



MR. WILFRID BALL, R.B.C., R.E. 

The principle which guides Mr. Wilfrid Ball in 
his work from nature is a sound one enough — to 
find out exactly what he wants to paint, and to do 
it at once. It is because he follows it so con- 
sistently that his water-colours have such a definite 
atmosphere of frank intention, and such a clear, 
purposeful quality of handling. In learning how 
to make sure that the things he wants to paint 
are those which are really worth painting, he has 
acquired also the power of setting them down with 
just the right amount of executive brevity, and 
with the measure of subtle suggestion that is in 
each case appropriate to the subject. 

Therefore his paintings can always be accepted 
as satisfactory examples of what may be called the 
summing-up of nature. They represent effectively 
the broad aspect of the subject in each instance, 

45 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

and they include sufficient detail to properly fill 
out the composition scheme without producing 
restlessness of effect, and without frittering away 
the strength of the design. They are neither 
tentative nor assertive in manner ; they keep 
rather to the happy mean which is desirable in all 
out-of-door work that is intended to faithfully 
record the artist's impression of the things pre- 
sented to him. Mr. Ball is at no pains to prove 
that he is an executant of amazing skill, or that 
he is a master of ingenious devices of handling ; 
what he really wants to show is that he can inter- 
pret correctly what seems to him to be the most 
paintable phases of nature, and that he has all the 
command over his materials that is required to 
make his interpretation convincing. 

When he is sketching out of doors he begins 
by roughing-in the scheme of the composition 
with charcoal, so as to make sure of his main 
forms and more important masses. He prefers 
charcoal to pencil for this first drawing-in, because 
it gives him his effect broadly and strongly, and 

because the ease with which it can be flicked off 

46 



MR. WILFRID BALL 

and altered enables him to correct and amplify his 
design without doing any damage to the surface 
of his paper. When the charcoal sketch is com- 
plete and the facts with which it is concerned are 
properly stated, he draws the subject in with a 
brush, following the lines of the black and white 
drawing, and then proceeds to lay in the colour, 
straight away. He tries as far as possible to 
complete the sketch at one painting, as this, he 
holds, is the ideal method of working. To worry 
a quick impression into a kind of sham complete- 
ness he thinks unadvisable ; the less a sketch is 
pulled about the more likely it is to suggest the 
spirit of nature, and to have the right technical 
quality. 

He works in a different way when he is deal- 
ing with a painting that is to be carried to a con- 
siderable degree of finish. He thinks it out more 
closely, and he is much more deliberate in his 
preliminary processes. The washes he puts on are 
often softened and sponged down to bring them to 
the right degree of strength, and he builds up his 
picture stage by stage, instead of attempting to 

47 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

reach its full pitch of colour and tone at once. 
But even with this more deliberate procedure he 
is careful not to lose the freshness of his brush- 
work, and he watches the progress of his work 
carefully to prevent its becoming dull and inex- 
pressive as a consequence of the labour he is 
putting into it. 

The paper that he prefers for his small rapid 
sketches is a rather thin French one, machine- 
made, with a very slightly rough surface. It 
takes the colour well, and is agreeable to work 
upon, but as, owing to its thinness, it is apt to 
cockle when wet, it is not so suitable for work on 
a large scale. His larger sketches and his more 
important water-colour paintings are done upon 
Whatman paper, which having a harder surface 
does not absorb moisture so quickly. Mr. Ball 
occasionally uses Chinese white for putting in 
small lights, but more often he scrapes them out 
with a razor. 

His palette is made up with aureolin, yellow 

ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna, deep cadmium, 

Vandyke brown, raw umber, cobalt, Antwerp blue, 

48 







A » 



*(\ 




I 






*l 



MR. WILFRID BALL 

French ultramarine, brown madder, Payne's grey, 
rose madder, rose dore, scarlet vermilion, Venetian 
red, Veronese green, ivory black, and Chinese 
white, with the addition, on rare occasions, of 
cobalt green and madder orange. 



49 



MR. FRANK BRANGWYN, A.R.A. 

The splendid independence of Mr. Brangwyn's 
artistic outlook gives a singularly stimulating 
quality to his art. It accounts not only for the 
character of his achievement, for the entirely 
personal manner in which he handles his pictorial 
material, but also for the way in which he sets 
to work to find the material which will lend 
itself best to the purpose that he has in view. 
This purpose is almost always to produce a piece 
of sumptuous decoration which will finely suggest 
the reality of nature and yet have a full degree 
of artistic invention, a decoration which will be 
perfectly balanced and properly arranged without 
being a merely conventional statement of fact. 

It is because he attacks with absolute in- 
dependence the problems which inevitably arise 
in such a compromise between realism and 

5 1 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

convention that his work is so full of signific- 
ance and so admirable in its suggestion. The 
rules by which he is guided in his practice are 
of his own devising, made to suit the demands of 
his artistic temperament, and tested by careful 
experiment to find out how they will serve him 
in the expression of his beliefs. But the fact 
that he subjects himself to these rules is especially 
instructive to the student ; it proves that even 
the most original and audacious effort in art is 
all the better for being disciplined, and that there 
is no incongruity in directing individuality of 
outlook into the right channels by the aid of 
orderly method. Mr. Brangwyn's amazing virility 
and inventive capacity would not be so convincing 
if he were not so intelligently systematic in his 
management of technical processes. 

Therefore in studying his water-colours it is 
necessary first to appreciate his estimate of the 
capabilities of the medium. He does not believe 
that water-colour should be used for the realistic 
representation of nature ; it should rather be 
regarded as a device for translating certain selected 

52 



MR. FRANK BRANGWYN 

facts into a form which is determined by suit- 
ably conventional restrictions. In his case his 
instinct as a decorator induces him to make his 
water-colours decorative transcriptions of the 
pattern of nature rather than exact records of her 
momentary aspects or her passing effects. His 
paintings are designs in which no superfluities 
of ornament are allowed to obscure the simple 
directness of the composition scheme, and in 
which, equally, no imitative trivialities are allowed 
to spoil the dignity of a broad and well-considered 
impression. 

When he is commencing a water-colour 
painting he makes a preliminary drawing in 
pencil by which he defines upon his paper the 
main forms of his subject. If this subject is an 
indefinite one, with only broad, simple masses, 
the drawing is quite slight, but if he is handling 
a more detailed motive — an architectural com- 
position, for instance — he carries his pencil work 
to a greater degree of elaboration and uses the 
lines frankly in combination with the water- 
colour washes. In this case he aims somewhat 

53 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

at the effeet of the old tinted drawings with 
their pencil outlines filled in with colour, except 
that his vigorous method has in it nothing of 
the tentativeness and timidity which characterised 
the technique of most of the earlier water- 
colourists. 

His colour washes he sets down with a free 
brush and as nearly as possible at full pitch, and 
except for some special reason, he does not touch 
them again. Ordinarily no softening or washing 
down is attempted in his working method ; such 
devices do not appeal to him because he desires 
to retain as far as possible the freshness of the 
paper surface and the luminosity of the straight- 
forward, transparent wash, and he feels that this 
quality is likely to be lost if the first decisive 
touches are interfered with or their character 
changed. At the same time he does not exclude 
Chinese white from the water-colour painter's 
equipment ; he uses it frequently, mixed with all 
his pigments, for work on tinted paper, but 
he very rarely employs it on white paper, and 
he avoids any combination of the opaque and 

54 










X 



MR. FRANK BRANGWYN 

transparent method in the same painting. He 
makes, by the way, no rule as to working with 
his paper wet ; he puts his washes on to a wet or 
a dry surface as circumstances may demand, or as 
the nature of the subject he is treating may seem 
to indicate. 

The colours he uses are cobalt, French blue, 
yellow ochre, cadmium No. 2, vermilion, Venetian 
red, burnt sienna, sepia, black, and Chinese white. 



55 



SIR ALFRED EAST, A.R.A., P.R.B.A. 

There is more than one lesson to be learned from 
study of the water-colour work of Sir Alfred East. 
Not only are his technical processes exceedingly 
instructive, but the aesthetic purpose also which 
is revealed throughout the whole of his pro- 
duction is more than ordinarily significant. Not 
many artists keep so consistently in view a 
particular aim, or work out so logically a 
definite theory of artistic practice, and fewer still 
succeed so completely in preventing a pervading 
intention from degenerating into an inflexible 
convention. In everything he paints, the pre- 
dominant idea is to produce a result which will 
be rightly decorative, a coherent and carefully 
adjusted design which presents the facts of nature 
in an orderly arrangement and sets out the 
structure of a chosen subject in a sufficiently 

57 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

credible form. All his pictures are solutions of 
some problem of decoration and are planned and 
carried out with careful consideration for the 
particular difficulties which this problem presents 
— there is nothing accidental in his art, and 
nothing that does not in its necessary degree 
help to make clear his initial intention. 

It is important in studying his water-colour 
work to take this intention fully into account, 
for it affects very definitely the character of his 
executive methods. These methods, indeed, he 
has adopted because his experience has proved 
that they will best enable him to arrive at the 
result he desires. His object is to simplify as 
far as possible the technical processes of painting, 
to find the most direct way of gaining his effects, 
and to eliminate from his practice everything that 
is in any sense superfluous or likely to confuse 
the clearness of his statement. He comes to his 
work with a distinct impression of the subject 
he has selected, and with his mind fully made 
up as to the means by which that impression 

is going to be recorded, so the simplifying of 

58 



SIR ALFRED EAST 

his procedure is the natural outcome of his mental 
preparation for the task he has undertaken. 

When he is beginning a water-colour painting 
he does not make any preliminary pencil drawing 
upon his paper ; indeed, as it is his habit to 
strain his paper over a board and to start painting 
upon it while it is still wet, the use of a pencil 
is practically impossible. He dislikes, it may 
be noted, paper that is already laid down upon 
cardboard, because the surface is apt to be hard 
and unresponsive to the touch of the brush. All 
his preliminary drawing is done with the brush 
in faint colour, and on this first faint laying-in 
he paints as far as possible at full strength straight 
away. He does not believe in any system of 
building up his colour and tone effects by suc- 
cessive washes, as he holds that the best qualities 
of the water-colour medium are to be arrived 
at by retaining the freshness and brilliancy of the 
single wash laid directly upon the paper. 

He freely admits that there may be differences 
of opinion as to what is the most suitable manner 
of dealing with water-colour, but the method 

59 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

he has chosen is the one which he has found 
to be most helpful in the expression of his artistic 
sentiment, and the most successful in securing the 
technical character which he prefers. Therefore, 
he aims invariably at the freshness and simplicity 
which come from direct handling, and at the 
transparency which can only be attained by full 
washes set down confidently and left untouched 
to the end. Retouching or washing out he 
regards only as expedients by which a fault can 
be corrected, or some change in design can be 
made ; they are not, in his view, desirable as 
regular devices in the water-colourist's system of 
practice. 

For large work he often uses Lyons' hair 
brushes, which give a certain richness and breadth 
of touch, but a favourite article in his equipment 
is a double sable brush — a large brush at one 
end of the handle and a small one at the other 
end — which can be screwed into a hollow handle 
and carried conveniently in the pocket. 

His palette is simple, as he feels that a 

group of colours which will give him a sufficient 

60 




14 
v. 



SIR ALFRED EAST 

range without introducing complications need not 

be a very large one. Habitually he uses yellow 

ochre, pale cadmium, deep cadmium, rose 

madder, cobalt, French blue, transparent oxide 

of chromium, Turner brown, or warm sepia, and 

raw umber, and occasionally Venetian red and 

ivory black. To this, however, other colours 

may be added now and again to meet some 

unusual call from his subject. He does not hold 

to the necessity of having a clean palette, as he 

oftentimes finds accidental blends on an uncleaned 

one very much to his liking and his needs. 



61 














o 
1-1 



MR. GEORGE S. ELGOOD, R.I. 

The particular qualities of Mr. Elgood's water- 
colour work have gained him a very definite 
degree of popularity. It is true that he chooses 
generally subjects which make a very strong 
appeal to a considerable section of the public, but 
it is his manner of treating them that has really 
established him in the prominent position he holds 
among our modern water-colourists. This manner 
is entirely his own, quite characteristic in its 
general application and its special reservations, and 
it exercises a perceptible influence over the whole 
of his production. 

Yet in his technical methods Mr. Elgood does 
not by any means follow any formal recipe ; they 
are varied, indeed, to suit the demands of the 
subject with which he may happen to be dealing, 

and each subject can, in a way, be said to suggest 

63 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

to him the method of treatment which he ought to 
adopt. This readiness to adapt himself to circum- 
stances, and to use the executive devices which 
seem most appropriate for the expression of the 
motive with which at the moment he is concerned, 
is an important factor in his practice ; it does not 
interfere with his personal outlook upon nature, 
and it safeguards him against that risk of becoming 
stereotyped to which all artists are more or less 
exposed. 

When he is commencing a subject in which 
there is much architectural detail — especially if the 
detail is complicated and delicate — he draws the 
whole thing in carefully with the pencil, and he 
takes similar pains in the first stage of those garden 
subjects in which there are special flowers, or 
groups of flowers, which he considers it necessary 
to indicate precisely. But, when possible, he 
prefers not to tie himself by a hard and fast 
outline, and even in his most exact studies he 
draws as much as he can with the brush rather 
than the pencil. In a painting of a landscape, 

or of a subject in which architecture plays an 

64 



MR. GEORGE S. ELGOOD 

unimportant part, he often lays the whole thing in 
at once, sometimes in colours which are not by 
any means those he sees in nature, but which are 
set down with absolute consideration for the other 
colours that he intends to superimpose on them in 
the finishing stages of his work. 

Then, working from a strong dark as a focus — 
or from a light, or from both a light and a dark as 
his subject may suggest — he carries the painting to 
a comparatively finished condition. This is done 
more or less rapidly according to the class of 
subject he may be dealing with, or the mood of 
the moment. There are some motives which 
must be handled deliberately ; and the manner of 
treatment which is appropriate to one type of 
material is often quite unsuitable for another. For 
example, if he were painting a garden in which 
masses of flowers constituted the subject, he might 
set down at the first sitting only a comparatively 
small portion of the more interesting or the more 
fugitive flowers, and then use that portion as the 
centre or focus to which the subsequent work 

would have to be related. 

65 f 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

While Mr. Elgood does not refuse to adopt 
any executive process that may at the moment 
seem to him to be suitable, his preference is for 
pure wash, supplemented by a certain amount of 
" lifting." The sponge and the knife he uses very 
sparingly and only in cases where the character of 
the work he is doing distinctly demands such 
devices. Body-colour he has abandoned entirely, 
because, after considerable experience of it, he has 
come to the conclusion that its disadvantages are 
greater than its advantages. 

The bulk of his work is practically finished out 
of doors, though he does not hesitate to add a 
certain amount of necessary elaboration to his 
paintings when he brings them back to his studio. 
But out-of-door work in his case does not mean as 
a matter of course the exact copying of what may 
be before him. He decides before he begins a 
picture how it is to be composed, what are to 
be its main masses, what its scheme of light and 
shade, and so on ; and in carrying out what he 
has decided he is content with a kind of selec- 
tive reference to nature rather than with precise 

66 




z 



X 



y 
w 

Q 






MR. GEORGE S. ELGOOD 

reproduction of the facts she supplies. It is the 
impression made upon him by the subject as a 
whole that he seeks to convey, and of the details 
available he chooses only those which will make 
this impression more intelligible. 

His advice to students of water-colour painting 
can be briefly summed up as advocacy of sim- 
plicity and straightforwardness. He recommends 
beginners to avoid tricks, to work with a simple 
palette, and to keep it clean ; to paint freshly and 
frankly, and to leave rubbing, sponging, and 
scraping alone until the possibility of doing 
without them has been fully realised ; because, as 
he argues, devices of this kind are useful servants 
on occasion, but very bad masters if the habit of 
depending upon them has once been acquired. 
Concerning the fashion for putting in a painting 
at full strength at once he suggests that this 
method is a sound one for those who can really 
use it, but that in the hands of the inexperienced it 
is apt to lead to an inadequate result — to a result 
less expressive than that obtainable by more 

patient and deliberate ways of working. The 

67 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

painter's object, he contends, is to arrive at a 
certain end by the best road he can find, and not 
merely to minimise his labour. At the same time 
he is not a believer in labour for labour's sake, and 
he objects to stippled elaboration which makes the 
colour of a picture dull and lifeless and takes all 
vitality out of the handling. 

In the matter of materials his preference is for 
a moderately smooth Whatman paper, which he 
insists on having properly stretched so as to avoid 
the discomfort which comes from trying to do 
precise and careful work on a surface which will 
not keep flat. His usual palette includes cobalt, 
French blue, indigo, Antwerp blue, rose madder, 
light red, brown madder, burnt sienna, aureolin, 
yellow ochre, raw sienna, brown pink, and sepia, 
with cadmium, lemon yellow, and vermilion as 
supplementary colours. 



68 




//'. Kxssc// Flint. 



,./" The Fine. A rt Sucietj: 



THE WHITE CLOIT). 



MR. W. RUSSELL FLINT 

The characteristic vigour and breadth of Mr. 
Russell Flint's water-colour work make it not 
only attractive as an expression of his artistic 
conviction but also interesting as an illustration of 
the manner in which he uses executive devices as 
aids to the attainment of his particular intentions. 
He is a more than ordinarily skilful craftsman, 
and he manages the processes of water-colour paint- 
ing with the confidence and certainty which are 
possible only to the artist who has a thorough 
understanding of the capabilities of the medium. 
He succeeds especially in retaining the freshness 
of his handling through all the stages by which 
the full effect of his paintings is built up, a 
spontaneous directness of technical quality which 
makes an undeniable appeal for admiration. 

This air of spontaneity is the more notable 

69 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

because Mr. Russell Flint's method is fairly 
complex, and the freshness of the results which 
he obtains by the use of it does not come merely 
from the simplicity of his procedure. When he 
is sketching out of doors he begins by indicating 
the main outlines of his subject lightly with 
charcoal, and then he lays over the entire surface 
of his paper a very wet wash of colour by which 
he aims at recording as nearly as possible the 
general effect of tone and colour which the subject 
presents. This wash produces a sort of broad 
impression of what is before him without, of 
course, defining exactly any even of the larger facts 
of the motive ; but it secures a certain correctness 
of suggestion, and it provides a definite foundation 
for more detailed work. 

When this first wash is dry — he hastens the 
drying of it with a spirit lamp when the atmo- 
spheric conditions are unfavourable — he applies 
other washes of the same sort, always very wet 
and laid on an absolutely dry surface, gradually 
building up his general effect and increasing stage 

by stage the completeness of the suggestion of 

70 



MR. W. RUSSELL FLINT 

the subject as a whole. In this striving for 
completeness of effect, he does not hesitate to 
modify the washes he has already laid on by 
scrubbing them down freely with a large hog- 
hair brush, if by alternations of washing in and 
scrubbing down he can obtain the qualities of 
tone and colour which he desires. 

The next thing he does is to block in definitely 
the main masses of his composition and gradually 
to work up the smaller details which are required 
to give coherence and meaning to the painting ; 
and at this stage again he uses the hog-hair brush 
freely whenever he thinks it is needed to soften 
away excessive hardness of definition or over 
emphasis in any part of the composition. With 
the hog-hair brush, too, he scrubs away colour 
when he wishes to change his light and shade, or 
to gain increased subtlety of atmosphere. In the 
last stage he puts in — again on a perfectly dry 
surface — sharp touches of colour which give 
vitality and crispness to the painting and provide 
the accents in the pictorial design ; but even these 
sharp touches are often subjected to the scrubbing 

7i 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

down process if they do not come exactly as he 
intends they should. Sometimes small lights are 
picked out as well with a stiff sable brush. 

Mr. Russell Flint's method, in fact, is one of 
building up by alternate laying in and scrubbing 
down until the effect that he has in his mind is 
rightly realised. As the work is always allowed to 
dry between each stage in its development this 
drastic manner of dealing with it does not destroy 
the underpaintings, but only brings them into a 
suitable condition to receive the touches which he 
intends to place on them. He does not, naturally, 
pay much attention to the surface of his paper, but 
as the paper he uses is a heavy one with a fairly 
rough grain, and as he has it mounted on board, it 
will stand a great deal of scrubbing and washing 
off without becoming unpleasantly sodden. It 
may be noted that in the earlier stages of his 
paintings he avoids colours which sink into and 
stain the paper instead of lying only on the surface 
— colours of this class he reserves until quite 
the last. 

His method, altogether, is one which must be 

72 



MR. W. RUSSELL FLINT 

employed with judgment. It is not one which an 
artist could wisely adopt without having at the 
outset formed a quite definite idea of the result at 
which he intended to arrive. Aimless washings in 
and scrubbings out would lead only to meaningless 
indecision of effect and would produce an indefinite 
sort of texture which would be by no means 
attractive. But Mr. Russell Flint's management 
of the process is so well directed by the right kind 
of intention and by really practical understanding, 
that he is able to keep his work in all its stages 
fully under control, and to guide it always in the 
required direction. 

The colours he ordinarily uses are cobalt, 
French ultramarine, Prussian blue, emerald green, 
Hooker's green No. i, yellow ochre, Indian 
yellow, lemon chrome, crimson lake, vermilion, 
light red, brown madder, burnt sienna, raw 
sienna, burnt umber, raw umber, Vandyke brown, 
occasionally ceruleum and rose madder, and very 
rarely Chinese white. 



73 



MR. ALBERT GOODWIN, R.W.S. 

As a painter of poetic and imaginative landscape 
Mr. Albert Goodwin has long occupied a very 
prominent place among our modern water- 
colourists. He is an artist of remarkable 
individuality, with a rare power of visualising 
what can, not inappropriately, be called dreams of 
nature, and of making absolutely credible fan- 
tasies which, though founded securely enough 
upon fact, derive their particular charm from 
the temperamental quality of his interpretation. 
There is an unusual character in his work, a 
character which appears not only in the choice 
and treatment of his subjects but also in the 
technical processes he employs. 

Emphatically, it can be claimed for him that 
he is a colourist, and one, also, to whom the 
sentiment of subtly harmonised and happily 

IS 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

combined colour appeals with especial force. In 

the earlier stages, indeed, of his career he was so 

preoccupied with colour, and colour only, that he 

was over-inclined to neglect the study of form and 

the cultivation of fine draughtsmanship. But 

spurred, as he admits, by the criticisms of Ruskin, 

he strove to correct this deficiency in his art, and 

for the past thirty years he has concerned himself 

as closely with questions of form as with problems 

of colour. To-day it is almost as much the 

sensitiveness of his drawing as the acuteness of 

his colour vision that makes his paintings so 

persuasive as technical exercises. 

Like most artists who are responsive to the 

impressions of the moment he has no hard and fast 

system of production, and he has a well-pronounced 

inclination towards experiment in new forms of 

technical expression. When possible, he prefers to 

complete his painting out of doors, face to face 

with nature, but in so many instances the subjects 

he chooses — effects of atmosphere, aerial colour, 

and momentary illumination — are of such an 

evanescent kind that they cannot be properly dealt 

76 



MR. ALBERT GOODWIN 

with by direct working in the open air. Therefore 
he has to trust to a considerable extent to his 
memory of what he has observed, supplemented 
by rapid notes made on the spot. These notes 
consist as a rule of a careful pencil outline of the 
forms of the subject, and a colour blot either done 
straight from nature or while the impression he 
has received is still vividly in his mind. Some- 
times he adds a black-and-white tone study of the 
general effect ; and with this material at hand 
for reference he is able to carry out his painting 
with due deliberation indoors. For this work- 
ing method he has, of course, fitted himself by 
prolonged memory training and by systematic 
development of his selective sense. 

In his methods of handling Mr. Goodwin aims 
primarily at simple directness of statement, at the 
quality which comes from frank breadth of brush- 
work ; but he admits that such devices as washing 
down and stippling are both permissible and 
convenient on occasions. They should be used, 
however, as special expedients rather than regular 
working processes ; it is wise, he contends, to 

77 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

avoid them as far as possible and to have re- 
course to them chiefly when an alteration or a 
correction is required in the first bold "lay-in." 
But he argues justly enough that to carry a water- 
colour painting to full refinement of finish without 
making any mistakes in tones or colours is more or 
less an exceptional achievement, and that, when 
they have been made, the conscientious artist will 
not allow them to remain uncorrected. Therefore 
the worker must have at his command a technical 
device by which he can correct and amplify his 
paintings, and experience has taught Mr. Goodwin 
that the combination of washing out and stippling 
is the device that serves him best in emergencies. 
He has found, too, that certain subjects which are 
very complex in colour or in gradation of atmo- 
spheric tone cannot be fully realised by pure wash 
alone, and that in these the necessary degree of 
refinement and variety can only be obtained by 
stippling, judiciously regulated and combined with 
the work beneath. 

There is one executive method frequently 

employed by Mr. Goodwin — a combination of 

78 



MR. ALBERT GOODWIN 

pen-line with water-colour wash — which claims 
particular mention. In his hands it is more than 
ordinarily expressive because he makes the com- 
bination with the same sensitiveness and delicacy 
that he displays in the other phases of his produc- 
tion. This manner of working has the advantage 
of rapidity and certainty, and is valuable for 
sketches which demand accuracy and yet have to 
be done against time — when the artist, for instance, 
is making only a brief stay in a district which 
presents him with a large number of subjects that 
he desires to record. The pen is used because it 
gives an almost indelible line and so prevents the 
drawing being lost when the washes are applied 
over it ; but, at the same time, as the pen-line is 
not absolutely indelible, it can be lightened or 
removed in places where a rigid outline is seen to 
be unnecessary after the colour tones have been 
added. ' The pen drawing is made first, on the 
plain paper, and the washes are floated on over 
it, the line being used simply as a guide and 
foundation for the later work, but occasionally the 
pen can be taken up again for finishing touches 

19 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

to give here and there more definition to certain 
forms and to accentuate the outline where 
necessary. 

The colours which Mr. Goodwin uses are 
ivory black, Turner brown, burnt umber, raw 
umber, raw sienna, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, 
aureolin, permanent yellow, Naples yellow, 
cadmium, Venetian red, Indian red, Chinese 
vermilion, permanent scarlet, pink or rose madder, 
emerald oxide of chromium, olive green, cobalt, 
French blue, Antwerp blue, neutral tint, and 
Chinese white. 



80 



MR. W. AYERST INGRAM, P.R.B.C, R.I. 

The study of the sea is surrounded with difficulties 
which impose upon the painter who attempts it 
a greater strain than he is likely to experience 
when he is dealing with any other type of 
material. The conditions under which sea paint- 
ing has to be carried on are often very exacting, 
and very liable to interfere with that spirit of 
quiet concentration which the artist finds necessary 
for properly expressing his intentions ; and the 
sea itself is such an elusive subject and so abound- 
ing with subtleties of colour and effect that it 
requires for its right interpretation an exceptional 
amount of serious observation. 

But despite these difficulties quite a number of 
water-colour painters have choseji the sea as their 
chief subject of study, and have succeeded con- 
spicuously in realising its fascinating immensity 

81 o 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

and mysterious charm. Among these painters 
Mr. Ayerst Ingram has made himself particularly 
notable by the sensitive quality of his work and 
by the extensive knowledge he displays of the 
behaviour of the sea under different conditions of 
weather. He has a thorough understanding of 
wave movement and of the way in which wave 
forms are affected by tidal action and by the force 
of the wind, and he appreciates fully the manner 
in which the colour of the sea is determined by 
varieties of illumination and aerial effect. His 
pictures, therefore, deserve to be closely studied 
as admirable examples of thoughtful expression, 
which carry conviction because they represent the 
conclusions at which he has arrived by prolonged 
investigation of his subject under all possible 
aspects. 

They are instructive, too, as illustrations of 
the appropriate application of technical processes. 
Mr. Ingram is an executant with a thorough 
command over practical details, and he has the 
confidence which comes from experience ; his 

method of painting is direct, well-controlled, and 

82 



MR. W. AYERST INGRAM 

free from mechanical tricks, and it brings him 
by the shortest road to the end at which he is 
aiming. 

In his out-of-door work it is simplified as 
much as possible because his sketches have always 
to be done against time, and therefore the quickest 
way of painting is the one that suits him best. 
He works on dry paper, lays in his colour at full 
strength, and uses any device of handling that 
answers his purpose at the moment. It is im- 
possible, with such evanescent effects as he has to 
record, to wait to do things in any systematic 
fashion, but practice has enabled him to recognise 
by instinct what variation of method or what 
accident of touch will be most helpful in his 
effort to make his impression intelligible. 

When he is painting a picture indoors, he is, 

however, much more deliberate. For his more 

important subjects he frequently prepares a cartoon 

in black and white or even in colour, and settles 

all the details of his composition before he touches 

the picture itself. In the actual painting he 

begins by laying in the general effect as nearly as 

83 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

possible at its full strength of colour and tone ; 
but this vigorous lay-in is washed down at once 
until there remains only a faint suggestion of the 
subject as a whole. Then he proceeds, stage by 
stage, gradually building up the picture and 
adding in regular sequence the touches by which 
it is developed. If necessary, certain parts are 
washed down again and then worked on to bring 
them back into right relation with the rest. At 
the last the crisp sharp notes of colour and light 
and shade which give vitality to the whole 
arrangement and define the facts of the subject 
are added. All the drawing throughout is done 
with the brush, so that, if any corrections have to 
be made, there may be no difficulty in washing 
off anything that is not rightly stated, without 
damaging the surface of the paper. 

The difference between Mr. Ingram's out-of- 
door and indoor method comes simply from his 
recognition of the difference in the conditions 
under which he has to work. In his sketching 
speed is one of the most important considerations 

and tidiness of execution is unnecessary as he is 

84 



MR. W. AYERST INGRAM 

not aiming at neatness of finish. What he wants 
is a vivid and forcible note which will reinforce 
his mental impression of the subject and be of 
value for purposes of reference later on. In the 
slower and more detailed painting processes which 
he follows indoors the sketch serves as a record 
and guide to prevent him from losing the direct- 
ness of his intention. 

The colours he uses are cobalt, French blue, 
transparent oxide of chromium, yellow ochre, 
transparent golden ochre, cadmium orange, rose 
madder, burnt sienna, and raw umber. 



85 



A 






v 



^_ -ft 





^^^^ 



MR. FRANCIS E. JAMES, A.R.W.S. 

By his paintings of flowers Mr. Francis E. James 
has gained a position of exceptional importance 
in the modern art world. He has done much 
admirable landscape work marked by unusual indi- 
viduality of manner and by technical qualities of a 
very high order, but in his flower pictures he has 
for many years displayed a degree of originality 
and executive mastery which certainly entitle him 
to a place among the most accomplished exponents 
of this branch of practice that the British school 
has produced. Indeed, it can truly be said that 
among neither his predecessors nor his contem- 
poraries is there any one with whom he can be at 
all closely compared, so personal is his art and so 
characteristic in its method and expression. 

The dominant idea in the whole of his produc- 
tion is extreme care and accuracy of statement — 

87 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

absolute precision of drawing and handling. He 
does not depend upon happy accidents of brush- 
work to give him the effects he desires ; everything 
is thought out and prepared for beforehand, and 
the result at which he arrives is, as far as it can 
possibly be made, the one at which he was aiming 
from the very beginning. 

He begins his picture with a very slight 
drawing in pencil which is used only to give him 
the general placing of his subject on the paper 
and to define approximately the spaces which 
the different parts of the subject are to occupy. 
Otherwise the whole of the drawing is done with 
the brush, except that occasionally the pencil may 
be resorted to to record some difficult little detail of 
form which he wishes to remain expressed in the 
finished painting either by severe outline or by 
strong contrast of colour. 

This drawing with the brush is minute and 

careful, every part of the subject is set down 

exactly and with the closest observation of the 

structure throughout. Subtleties of modelling 

and precise relations of colour are observed and 

88 



MR. FRANCIS E. JAMES 

rendered as accurately as possible, and the propor- 
tions and focusing of the painting are definitely 
established. The colours are used direct from the 
pan, not mixed on the palette, so as to secure 
absolute purity and freshness of tint, and with the 
same object Mr. James keeps always by him two 
large glasses of soft water which is changed before 
it becomes really dirty. The work is kept in a 
high key to allow for loss of colour brilliancy in 
drying. 

In the finishing stage he reverses what is with 
most artists the customary procedure, for he aims 
not at making his painting more elaborate and 
fuller of detail but rather at losing some of the 
elaboration he has given to the subject. He 
works very wet, obliterating what he calls " the 
tiresome evidence of labour " which results from 
the slow and studied process of drawing and build- 
ing up that he has followed from the beginning ; 
and he leaves only those actualities of form and 
accent which he considers necessary for rightly 
suggestive expression. His object in the finishing 

stage is to give to his subject the aspect it would 

89 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

have when looked at as a whole — a large breadth 
of effect and a completeness of relation of part to 
part and detail to detail. This eliminating process 
needs the closest concentration of thought and 
observation ; indeed, his manner of working all 
through entails no small degree of mental strain, as 
he never allows his attention to flag and never per- 
mits chance to divert him from his initial intention. 
Naturally, the exact application of his method 
varies somewhat according to the character of the 
subject on which he may happen to be engaged. 
As flowers are fugitive in varying degrees it is 
only by experience that the painter can discover 
exactly what amount of time he can allow himself 
for each given subject, and this experience must 
be obtained by years of practice and by many 
failures. There is no royal road to success for the 
worker who concerns himself with such problems 
as those which have to be faced in the form of art 
of which Mr. James is so admirable an exponent, 
and such results as he achieves are the best proofs 
of all that he has striven seriously to overcome the 

many difficulties of his art. 

90 







■w 



?>«-« e~* -A i-Vy, 



Francis E. lama. A.RM'.S. 



^i 



.-' i /'<■)■,■/■-■:■::.■'// -■/ V,- ll:i::k / :>t, 



LILIES. 



MR. FRANCIS E. JAMES 

The colours he habitually uses are cobalt, 
cyanine blue, ceruleum, French blue, rose madder, 
rose dore, carmine madder, carmine, crimson lake, 
vermilion, light red, burnt sienna, emerald green, 
green oxide of chromium (opaque and transparent), 
viridian, yellow ochre, cadmium (Nos. i and 2), 
cadmium orange, permanent yellow, aureolin, raw 
sienna, brown madder, Vandyke brown, Roman 
sepia, lamp black, and occasionally indigo and rose 
antique. Chinese white he uses very sparingly 
and never for corrections. 



9i 



MR. HERBERT MARSHALL, R.W.S. 

There is to be noted in the water-colour work of 
Mr. Herbert Marshall a very interesting combina- 
tion of vigorous actuality and poetic suggestion, 
and there is, too, a decidedly instructive definiteness 
of technical method. The architectural subjects 
to which he has devoted a large part of his energies 
have certainly demanded of him decisiveness of 
statement and a certain firm precision of both 
drawing and painting, but his pictorial instinct 
has led him to temper the severity of the motives 
he has chosen by presenting them under attractive 
conditions of atmospheric effect. His groups of 
buildings and street scenes, painted in a glow of 
aerial colour or in the mystery of twilight, appeal 
quite as strongly to the lover of nature's beauties 
as they do to the man who interests himself in the 
solution of architectural problems — Mr. Marshall 

93 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

looks at such subjects with an architect's knowledge, 
undeniably, but he interprets them with the 
sensitiveness and the subtlety of vision which are 
the chief essentials in the equipment of the land- 
scape painter. 

The habit of seeing things largely is, indeed, 
one that he has assiduously cultivated. It guides 
him very definitely in his method of building up a 
picture from small studies made out of doors, and 
it governs the whole working process by which he 
leads on to his intended result. With his small 
studies beside him he prepares a cartoon in pastel 
of the same size as the picture he is going to paint 
— using a brown or grey paper with a rough 
surface and drawing with the softest pastels 
obtainable — and in this cartoon he masses his sub- 
ject without emphasising outlines or small forms, 
and establishes the broad scheme of colour and 
tone that he desires to reproduce in his painting. 
The friability of the pastel on the rough paper is 
an actual mechanical assistance, as it makes small 
drawing impossible and forces him to deal only 
with the large and generalised masses. 

94 



MR. HERBERT MARSHALL 

When he begins the painting in water-colour he 
tries, if the subject is one with a dominating sky- 
effect, to block it in straight away. The paper is 
first thoroughly soaked, and then, with the board 
laid nearly flat, the sky is floated in and all darks 
such as clouds, distant passages, and so on, are laid 
upon the wet paper with colour as dry as possible. 
Each touch must be applied directly and without 
hesitation, and no attempt must be made to vary or 
correct it until the paper is quite dry. By this 
blocking -in the main facts of the subject are 
plainly defined at something like their full strength, 
and a firm foundation is provided for the more 
detailed work by which the painting is completed. 

In subjects where the foreground objects are 
complicated and important — where, for instance, 
there is a group of shipping relieved against 
buildings in the middle distance — Mr. Marshall 
reverses his procedure, for he begins with the 
foreground masses and the strongest darks, and 
works, as it were, backwards, leaving the lightest 
passages of his picture to be dealt with last of all. 
In this, however, he is really maintaining the strict 

95 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

principle of his method, that the broad masses and 
the general construction of his subject should be 
settled clearly before any of the smaller details are 
introduced. By such a sequence of processes he 
secures himself against any danger of getting any 
part of his composition out of right relation to the 
rest, and he keeps the whole scheme of his picture 
in proper order from the beginning to the end. 

It may be noted that while he avoids body- 
colour in his general water-colour work he uses it 
frequently for his more rapid studies and landscape 
sketches, which are executed upon a dark-tinted 
paper. For pure water-colour painting he prefers 
O.W. paper made up into tablets for small-scale 
work but stretched on a panel board for larger 
paintings. It is advisable to have a large sheet of 
paper properly strained so as to prevent any chance 
of its not lying evenly when it is soaked for the 
first blocking-in of the picture. 

The colours he uses are aureolin, cadmium, 

yellow ochre, orange vermilion, Venetian red, 

brown madder, rose madder, burnt sienna, Turner 

brown, terra verte, cobalt, indigo, and cyanine blue. 

96 




A,/-,'/;/ X,M,; K.B.. I. 



FULL CRY 



MR. EDWIN NOBLE, R.B.A. 

There is in Mr. Edwin Noble's water-colours 
of birds and animals a pleasant unconventionality 
which suggests that he does not follow any 
particular system of working, but trusts rather to 
the inspiration of the moment to guide him in 
both the selection and the interpretation of his 
subject. Really, however, this unconventional 
manner is not at all accidental ; it is attained, 
indeed, by very systematic and careful working, 
and is sought for deliberately through all the 
sequence of processes by which his paintings are 
built up. Mr. Noble is a firm believer in 
progression by stages to the final result, and in the 
value of studious preparation at the outset for the 
effects that are to be ultimately presented. 
* At one time it was his habit to work directly 
from nature, and to paint with his bird or animal 

97 h 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

model before him during all the stages of his 
picture making. But this method, he found, led 
him into a hesitating and timid manner of execu- 
tion, because he was always being worried by the 
restlessness of his models, and disconcerted by 
their habit of making sudden and complete changes 
of pose. The uncertainty as to what might happen 
next interfered with his exactness of observation, 
and the effort to finish what he had begun, despite 
the alteration in the subject before him, led him 
into a sort of half-hearted compromise which took 
the spirit out of his work. 

Now, he has accustomed himself to prepare 
very careful studies of each of the animals that he 
proposes to introduce into his picture — studies in 
which the position is exactly recorded and which 
he finishes minutely in every detail — and when 
he has collected the whole series of drawings that 
he requires he draws in from them his complete 
composition with all possible accuracy. The 
composition itself he has settled beforehand by 
making a design in charcoal ; in fact he prepares 

a number of such designs for each of his pictures, 

98 



MR. EDWIN NOBLE 

and he keeps by him the one which best satisfies 
his intention, as a guide while he is drawing his 
studies. 

The first thing he does in the painting itself is 
to run a wash all over the paper so as to arrive at 
once at the general tone and colour effect of the 
subject ; and then he goes straight ahead without 
ever allowing the work to get quite dry, adding 
blots of pure colour here and there as may be 
necessary, and gradually bringing the whole scheme 
properly together. He hardly ever paints up to 
full pitch at once, but reaches it, not by successive 
washes, but rather by adding more and more colour 
to the first wash while it remains wet. As the 
picture progresses he allows it to become less wet, 
and he reserves his final small details to the very 
last ; and sometimes these details are afterwards 
partially wiped off with a brush so as to give a 
sufficient suggestion of small work without any 
interference with the general breadth of the 
painting. With a brush, too, the lights are lifted 
out where necessary. Finally the work is allowed 
to dry, the edges are cleaned up and any loss of 

99 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

drawing is corrected ; but even then it may be put 
under a tap or into a bath and have more colour 
added to it if the artist does not feel that he has 
reached the full effect that he desired. 

This method allows of reasonably rapid pro- 
duction, and by following it a fairly important 
painting can often be finished in a few days. But 
when the preparatory work is taken into account, 
and the time expended upon the preliminary 
studies is reckoned in, it is evident that Mr. Noble's 
working processes entail a more than ordinary 
amount of concentration and sustained effort. At 
no moment in the progress of his painting can he 
relax his attention or handle his materials carelessly. 
The chief essential for success is that every touch, 
every bit of drawing, every detail of form or colour 
should be thought out beforehand, and the manner 
in which it will help in the development of the 
whole pictorial scheme should be fully appreciated. 
To begin a painting without having all the needful 
studies at hand would lead plainly to much con- 
fusion, but equally there would be confusion if 

any work were put into the painting which had 

ioo 




Mwin .X,,/,/,; K.B.A. 



THE FARM YARD. 



MR. EDWIN NOBLE 

not a definite purpose, and which did not contribute 
something to that completeness of representation 
that he was striving to secure. 

The colours which Mr. Noble uses for general 
work are cobalt, French ultramarine, olive 
green, aureolin, yellow ochre, raw sienna, and 
light red ; and for brighter effects Chinese 
vermilion, madder lake, Antwerp blue, neutral 
tint, lemon yellow, Hooker's green, No. 2, and 
occasionally emerald green. He avoids Chinese 
white. 



101 



MR. ALFRED POWELL 

A particular interest attaches to the water-colour 
work of Mr. Alfred Powell, because he can be 
accounted as one of the better exponents of the 
tradition which was established by the earlier 
masters of the art. In his paintings he follows 
the simple broad methods which were generally 
practised by the leaders in water-colour nearly a 
century ago, and he applies these methods with a 
very intelligent appreciation of their value and 
of the manner in which they should be employed 
for the interpretation of the subjects he selects. 
As a craftsman, indeed, he is markedly accom- 
plished ; the directness and straightforwardness of 
his work can always be admired, and there is some- 
thing that specially attracts in the certainty with 
which he states the conclusions to which he has 

been brought by his study of nature. 

103 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

In arriving at these conclusions he takes con- 
siderable pains to satisfy himself that he has used 
the right kind of observation, and that his nature 
study has been sufficiently deliberate and exhaustive. 
He is no believer in hasty generalisations, and he 
has a definite conviction that the artist who is 
most careful about preliminaries is the one 
who is most likely to attain satisfactory results. 
For instance, when he is making a first acquaint- 
ance with a new sketching ground, he insists upon 
a thorough exploration of the whole district before 
beginning to work, so that he may not only dis- 
cover the best subjects, but may also decide which 
are the best conditions under which they should 
be painted — it is not always, he feels, the most 
accessible bit of scenery that is worthiest of the 
artist's attention, and every landscape ought to be 
studied under its appropriate atmospheric effect. 

When he has settled on his subject he aims 

first of all at obtaining a definite mental impression 

of it as a whole, and this mental impression he 

tries to keep clearly before him through all the 

subsequent stages of his work, so as to avoid any 

104 



MR. ALFRED POWELL 

departure from his original intention, and any divi- 
sion of the interest of his picture. In this first 
view of his subject he begins by studying its forms 
and masses, and then goes on to consider its light 
and shade values, and to sec how it lends itself to 
that focusing of forms and tones which is necessary 
for the proper pictorial rendering of a landscape ; and 
it is not until his mind is made up on these points 
that he starts his record of the scene before him. 

Usually he makes at the outset a rough sugges- 
tion in charcoal of the general effect of the com- 
position — he chooses charcoal because it can be 
easily dusted off the paper — and then he draws in 
his main lines lightly in pencil. Then he lays a 
thin wash of warm colour, generally a mixture of 
yellow ochre and rose madder, all over his paper, 
and as soon as this wash has dried sufficiently he 
puts in the delicate colours of his sky and distance. 
Next, he deals with the stronger colour masses in 
th« middle distance and foreground, and establishes 
the relation between these masses and the more 
tender tints in the remoter parts of his picture. 

To this broad statement are added what finishing 

105 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

touches the subject may require. In working he 
keeps the surface of his paper moderately damp by 
occasional washes of water, so as to avoid the risk 
of his touches drying with unduly hard edges. 

The darker passages in his picture he lays in, 
as far as possible, with a single wash. He does 
not superimpose wash upon wash until the 
necessary depth of colour is attained ; he begins a 
dark mass, instead, at its lightest part, and taking 
more colour in his brush from time to time as he 
goes on, he expresses the gradation and modelling 
in this mass by floating the light and the dark in 
together. In this way he gains a pleasant quality 
of surface, and an agreeable blending of both 
colours and tones which is specially expressive ; 
and he also keeps his colour from that tendency 
towards opacity which is apt to appear when the 
dark passages in a water-colour are brought up to 
their full pitch by successive washes. Naturally, 
working in this way, he is careful not to allow his 
colour to become too sloppy ; if he did, the grada- 
tions in the wash would run together, and the 

modellings at which he was aiming would not be 

106 




X 



■x 
- 



MR. ALFRED POWELL 

distinguishable. He keeps his pigments in a 

creamy consistency, moist enough to enable them 

to be laid easily on the paper, but not so wet that 

a touch will spread appreciably beyond the place 

that it is intended to occupy. What exactly 

should be the amount of water used in this mode 

of handling water-colours the painter can only find 

out by experiment. Mr. Powell has developed 

the method into a certainty, and much of the 

charm of texture which can be perceived in his 

paintings comes from the skill with which he 

brings his pigments to the right consistency and 

avoids that excessive fluidity of touch which is 

so difficult to control. Yet he equally avoids 

dryness, and the hard definition of washes which 

is undesirable in finished work and not always 

acceptable even in a slight sketch. 

The colours he uses are lemon yellow, 

gamboge, aureolin, yellow ochre, raw sienna, 

burnt sienna, burnt umber, raw umber, Vandyke 

brown, sepia, blue black, orange vermilion, 

Venetian red, rose madder, brown madder, cobalt, 

Antwerp blue, indigo, and Payne's grey. 

107 



MR. ARTHUR RACKHAM, V.P.R.W.S. 

There are two sides to the art of Mr. Arthur 
Rackham, in both of which he has proved him- 
self to be possessed of quite exceptional capacities. 
He is a very able painter in pure water-colour 
of landscapes and open-air subjects, in which he 
shows a dainty and poetic appreciation of the more 
subtle aspects of nature and a very delicate com- 
mand over refinements of technical method ; and he 
is a fantastic illustrator, with an amazingly fertile 
imagination and executive skill of the highest 
order. In this illustrative work he uses a combina- 
tion of pen line and water-colour wash which he 
applies with equal expressiveness to a wide range 
of motives, to strong, grotesque designs full of 
vigorous character, to dramatic incidents and scenes 
from fanciful myths and legends, and to composi- 
tions which require the most sensitive tenderness 

109 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

of handling and an exquisite precision of state- 
ment. 

Naturally enough, the habit of setting things 
down delicately and yet with all necessary decision, 
which he has acquired by his practice in line 
drawing, has its effect upon the character of his 
pure water-colour painting. His open-air studies, 
free and loose in handling as they are, are always 
admirably drawn and are distinguished by a 
searching sense of form. They have notably that 
confidence of manner which comes from a thorough 
technical equipment and from a well-cultivated 
power of observation. Yet they are not mapped 
out at the beginning with much formality of 
drawing ; they are, as a rule, started straight away 
with the brush, and the subject is built up part by 
part with washes and fluent touches which are all 
the more expressive because they are not made to 
conform to a rigid outline. In his interpretation 
of nature, too, Mr. Rackham allows himself a 
certain amount of freedom ; he selects the facts 
that help to explain the meaning of his subject 

and he eliminates those which might complicate 

no 



MR. ARTHUR RACKHAM 

unnecessarily, or obscure, the artistic point that he 
wishes to make. It is an impression of his motive 
as a whole that he seeks to convey ; he does not 
try to produce a merely realistic record of the 
scene before him. Sometimes, when he is com- 
posing a painting, he works from studies pre- 
pared beforehand, but this is rather an occasional 
departure than his usual custom. 

In his figure work — in those tinted pen draw- 
ings upon which he lavishes such an astounding 
wealth of imagination — he proceeds by a more 
elaborate sequence of processes. The beginning is 
a careful drawing in pencil by which he fixes both 
the main essentials and the smaller details of his 
composition, and on this pencil drawing the pen- 
and-ink work is imposed and is carried to comple- 
tion. Then the pencil marks, where they have 
not been covered by the pen lines, are cleaned off 
and the washes of colour are added. Frequently 
between the pen-and-ink and the colour stages, 
the general tone effect is worked out with mono- 
chrome washes, on top of which the colour is 

finally placed ; but this is not his invariable practice 

in 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

— it is a matter in which he would be guided by 

circumstances, and by the requirements of the 

particular subject with which he might happen 

to be dealing. Sometimes again, there is further 

drawing in pen and ink over the colour washes. 

This order of procedure is, however, subject to 

variation according to the exigencies of the moment. 

Mr. Rackham, like most artists who use technical 

devices in a personal manner, adapts himself to the 

needs of the work in hand, and does not hesitate to 

modify his methods if thereby he can arrive at a 

more effective result. 

He has one other working habit which must 

be mentioned because it accounts for certain 

qualities in his drawings. With a general idea of 

his composition in his mind, he begins by setting 

down the surroundings of his figures before he 

draws in the figures themselves — he builds up, as it 

were, the scene before he brings on his characters 

to play their parts on the stage. This reversal 

of the usual order of pictorial composition is, in 

his case, decidedly justified by results ; it gives an 

atmosphere of consistency to designs which from 

112 




lly /nr mission of Mrs. Z. Morto 



THE KING AND THE SWINEHERD. 



MR. ARTHUR RACKHAM 

their fantastic nature require a particular treatment 
to be made credible. If he drew his groups of 
figures first, and then filled in the background 
and accessories, there would be some danger of 
detaching these figures from their surroundings 
and of making them too prominent in the design. 
But when they are made to take their place logic- 
ally in a well-prepared setting, the unity of the 
scene is preserved both dramatically and pictorially, 
and the whole thing becomes pleasantly coherent. 
That Mr. Rackham should have appreciated this 
fact and should have acted upon it so consistently 
is a proof of his thoughtful study of artistic prin- 
ciples, and of the thoroughness with which he 
considers the details of his practice. 

The colours he uses habitually in his water- 
colour work are charcoal grey, raw umber, emerald 
oxide of chromium, French ultramarine, ceruleum, 
cobalt, crimson alizarin, burnt sienna, raw sienna, 
yellow ochre, aureolin, and Chinese white. 



IJ 3 




Arthur U'ardk: 



JABIRU STORKS. 



MR. ARTHUR WARDLE 

Among the artists who occupy themselves with 
the representation of animal life Mr. Arthur 
Wardle has made a marked success by his paint- 
ings of the larger beasts of prey. He has given 
years of study to the ways of the models he has 
chosen and has learned very thoroughly their 
distinguishing peculiarities of action, movement, 
and attitude, and their particular characteristics of 
anatomical structure. He draws them with a 
fine sense of their grace of line and their lithe 
beauty of modelling, and he paints them with 
the soundest understanding of the texture of skin 
and fun In everything he does there is the 
foundation of sure knowledge, tested by experience 
and confirmed by constant reference to nature. 
Necessarily, with such subjects as he prefers, the 
training of his memory by close and prolonged 

"5 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

observation is a matter of great moment, because 
for the completeness of his work he has to trust 
largely to memory of what he has seen rapidly 
rather than to actual reproduction of facts that he 
can study at leisure. Therefore he has encouraged 
himself in the habit of making many careful and 
searching drawings and of taking great pains over 
the preliminaries by which he leads up to his 
final pictorial results. 

But in his methods of painting he does not 
follow any fixed rule. Generally he works as his 
mood suggests or as the subject he has in hand 
seems to demand ; his technical manner, in fact, 
is varied to suit the occasion and is not the same 
for one picture as it is for another. All that he 
asks is that the way he chooses at the moment 
should be the one by which the picture he intends 
to produce can be given most fully the aspect and 
quality he wishes it to have. 

For some time past he has been using a fine- 
grained linen to paint upon instead of paper. This 
linen is mounted like paper upon stout boards so 

that it will keep flat and not cockle when wetted, 

116 




A 



MR. ARTHUR WARDLE 

and not stretch unequally. It has a pleasant 
surface texture and it takes well the body-colour 
which he prefers for practically the whole of his 
work. He mixes white with almost all his colours 
and consequently makes his pigments semi-opaque, 
but as he lays them on in thin washes rather 
than in solid or heavily-loaded touches, the grain 
of the linen helps to give freshness to the brush- 
work and to enhance the interest of the handling. 

He attaches considerable importance to the 
maintenance of a certain evenness of opacity in 
the colours while they are being applied — so as 
to avoid the discordant effect which would come 
from combining solid touches and transparent 
washes in the same painting. To this end he 
often mixes Chinese white with the water in 
which he dips his brushes, and thereby compels 
himself to carry white evenly into all the pig- 
ments with which he is working. The result is, 
naturally, more consistent than it would be if the 
white were added to the colours on the palette 
more or less at haphazard. 

When he is painting on paper instead of linen 

117 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

his method of handling is practically the same — 
a process of building up by thin washes of body- 
colour which are drawn with much care and 
crisply defined rather than floated together. But, 
of course, where blending is required to suggest 
subtleties of colour or tone gradation he does not 
hesitate to fuse these touches one into the other 
while they are wet ; the executive process he 
employs is elastic enough to give him all needful 
liberty of action and to enable him to meet in 
the right way any technical difficulty that may 
happen to arise. His readiness to adapt himself 
to circumstances does not mean, however, that he 
is uncertain about the way in which his work 
should be done ; it implies, on the contrary, an 
unusual degree of all - round knowledge of the 
working details of his craft, and a definite capacity 
for discerning which particular means of expression 
will best serve his purpose. 

The colours he uses are lemon yellow, aureolin, 
yellow ochre, cadmium, raw sienna, burnt sienna, 
rose madder, brown madder, vermilion, cobalt, 

Prussian blue, sepia, black, and Chinese white. 

118 



SIR ERNEST WATERLOW, R.A., P.R.W.S. 

No one could deny to Sir Ernest Waterlow 

the fullest measure of credit as a serious and 

sensitive student of nature or as a sincere and 

consistent seeker after beauty. His landscapes 

have a singular charm of manner due to the 

admirable taste he exercises in his selection of 

subjects and the refinement of the technical method 

he employs in interpreting them. There is always 

a delightful delicacy in his work, but at the same 

time it lacks neither strength nor distinction ; and 

his firm draughtsmanship, the freshness of his colour, 

and the subtlety of his suggestion of atmospheric 

effects give an unusually persuasive character to 

the whole of his production. 

He has no technical tricks which affect the 

straightforwardness of his painting ; his main object 

is to record frankly what he sees and to realise to 

119 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

the utmost the character of a subject which has 
attracted him. Therefore he chooses the simplest 
way of expressing himself and trusts wisely to the 
Tightness of his observation to make his work 
convey the impression which he has himself 
received from nature. Of course, the manner of 
both his observation and expression is determined 
by his personal preference for a particular type of 
material, and by his instinctive appreciation of the 
proper way in which this material should be 
handled ; but the revelation of his personality is 
given without affectation and with none of that 
self-consciousness which is sometimes too obvious 
in the performances of men of strong and 
independent conviction. 

One of his special aims is to suggest the 
brilliancy and purity of colour which appeal to him 
in nature. For this reason he does not wet his 
paper before he begins to paint, because he feels 
that on the dry surface he can lay his washes with 
the crispness and cleanliness that he desires. His 
colour, too, he puts in as near as possible at full 
strength so as to avoid the chance of losing any of 

I20 



SIR ERNEST WATERLOW 

its freshness by having to add wash on wash to 
bring it to the right pitch. Whatever fusing 
together of touches may be necessary to prevent 
hardness of edges or over-definition of forms he 
obtains by the natural properties of the water- 
colour medium ; he does not use any deliberate 
contrivances to obtain softness, and he does not 
wash down strongly-stated work so as to give it 
delicacy by mechanical means. 

When he is painting out of doors he keeps the 
size of his sketch within definite limits, as a rule 
to something not exceeding half imperial, because 
work of this size can be comfortably finished 
in one or, at most, two sittings. If the subject 
happens to be an unusually elaborate one he makes 
some special studies of details on the spot and uses 
them later on to help him in finishing the painting 
in his studio. His paper he carries in a port- 
folio which he rests upon his knees and supports 
behind with a stick standing on the ground. This 
arrangement he prefers to an easel as it enables 
him more quickly to vary the angle at which 
his paper is placed and to put it in any position 



121 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

which some momentary exigency of handling may 

demand. 

All his large water-colours are painted indoors 

from the sketches and studies which he has made 

in the open. To attempt large work out of doors 

is not, he thinks, judicious because there is some 

risk of the original impression inspired by the 

subject being lost during the protracted labour 

necessary to realise it on any considerable scale. 

His limitation of the size of his sketches is due to 

the belief, founded upon experience, that an artist 

is less liable to wander from the treatment which 

he decided on at first for the material before him 

if he does not try to deal with this material in too 

ambitious a manner. In sketches to be finished at 

one sitting it is useless to have too much ground to 

cover — there must always be a certain amount of 

emptiness in large paintings which are done with 

excessive rapidity ; while, on the other hand, the 

result of giving several sittings to one study is 

generally to produce a conflict of ideas in which 

anything like decisiveness in the interpretation of 

the subject is apt to disappear. Sir Ernest's method 

122 



SIR ERNEST WATERLOW 

has the advantage of being practical, and of being 
directed by common sense as well as by artistic 
expediency — as much of his out-of-door work is 
intended to be used for reference when he is 
painting pictures in his studio it is indispensable 
that it should be as accurate as possible in its 
presentation of nature's realities. 

The colours he generally uses are cobalt, 
ceruleum, indigo, ultramarine ash, yellow ochre, 
raw sienna, lemon yellow, aureolin, cadmium 
No. 2, cadmium orange, light red, vermilion, rose 
madder, pink madder, brown madder, raw umber, 
burnt sienna, and charcoal grey ; and occasionally 
French blue, real ultramarine, cobalt green, cobalt 
violet, and Vandyke brown. 



123 









u 
H 
w 



S 






MR. J. R. WEGUELIN, R.W.S. 

It is especially as a painter of the nude figure in 
water-colour that Mr. J. R. Weguelin has made 
himself famous. He has taken up a class of subject 
that comparatively few artists attempt, and he has 
handled it in a long series of very attractive paint- 
ings with a charm and distinction that can be 
sincerely admired. He has a very pleasing fancy 
and a delightful sense of style ; and his graceful 
draughtsmanship, his exquisite feeling for delicate 
harmonies of colour, and his brilliantly direct and 
expressive brushwork make his productions more 
than ordinarily important as examples of the 
judicious application of the water-colour medium. 
The dominant characteristic of his method is 
straightforwardness — an attempt to arrive at the 
results he desires by the simplest means and by the 

frankest use of his materials. His fundamental 

125 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

conviction is that water-colour when painted with 
real directness has a brilliant quality which is 
unattainable in any other way, and that if this 
quality is once lost in the processes of working it 
can hardly ever be regained by any devices of 
retouching. But he recognises that figures must 
be accurately realised — unlike landscapes, in which 
minor mistakes in drawing can be comparatively 
easily glossed over — and that imperfections in 
draughtsmanship must be corrected, even if thereby 
some of the freshness at which the artist may be 
aiming in his handling has to be sacrificed. 

Therefore, he insists that the water-colour 
painter who wishes to treat figures by the direct 
method must first make himself a practised 
draughtsman, and be sure of the forms with which 
he has to deal. There must be no fumbling with 
the drawing and no tentative setting down of facts 
which would have later on to be laboured into 
correctness, because both the fumbling and the 
labour would interfere with directness of technical 
statement and would diminish the vitality of the 
finished work. 

126 



MR. J. R. WEGUELIN 

Mr. Weguelin himself strives in his preliminary 
drawing for such absolute accuracy that when he 
begins to paint his subject he shall have nothing 
but the colour to think about, and in the actual 
painting he tries to gain by the simplest processes 
the colour and the effect that he wants. He puts 
on his touches fluently and models them while they 
are wet by adding more water to spread and 
lighten them, by running in body-colour, or by 
increasing where necessary the depth and richness 
of the colour, so as to fuse the work together 
before it is allowed to dry. In this way gradations 
of tone and graduations of tint can be obtained 
without either washing out or laying wash over 
wash, and the risk of losing the freshness that is 
one of the charms of water-colour placed frankly 
upon white paper is to a great extent avoided. 

Sometimes after he has fully modelled a figure 
in transparent colour he floats a thin veil of slightly 
warm body-colour over it, leaving only the deeper 
transparent shadows and the stronger colour accents 
— a device by which he gains subtlety and 

delicacy without diminishing the strength or 

127 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

destroying the definition of his under work, and 
by which he can soften and bring together his 
tones and modellings. He is always very careful 
to preserve the cleanness and crispness of the 
outlines, especially where they are relieved against 
a dark background, but by studious observation of 
the tones which suggest the roundness of the figure 
he prevents this crispness from degenerating into" 
hardness. In fact, there is in all his work plain 
proof that he has not only a thoroughly practical 
understanding of the method he employs but also 
an intimate knowledge of the more subtle refine- 
ments of expression by which exactness of state- 
ment can be kept from becoming tediously obvious. 
But, after all, his possession of this knowledge 
is the natural consequence of the close study that 
he has given to the practice of his art. Convinced 
as he is of the need for serious preparation to 
prevent the artist's facility from being hampered 
by insufficient acquaintance with fact, he has a not 
less firm conviction that the bald presentation of 
fact does not make for artistic beauty or for grace- 
ful suggestion. That his picture should have all 

128 



MR. J. R. WEGUELIN 

the essentials of draughtsmanship, design, and 
handling upon which all good work is based seems 
to him a vital matter, but he feels not less surely 
that these essentials should be so happily combined 
that the painting as a whole should have an air of 
spontaneity and almost unconscious achievement. 

The colours he uses are cobalt, ceruleum, 
cendre blue, French blue, oxide of chromium 
(opaque and transparent), Hooker's green, No. i, 
yellow och're, aureolin, cadmium orange, raw 
sienna, burnt sienna, purple madder, rose madder, 
light red, brown madder, Vandyke brown, raw 
umber, and flake white ; and occasionally 
vermilion, burnt umber, and lampblack. 



129 




By f>L , i'/?tissio}i of Mr. J. E. L hainp7ii\ 



THE PAROQUET. 



MR. J. WALTER WEST, R.W.S. 

In the whole of the work which Mr. J. Walter 
West produces there is evident an intention to 
arrive at certain dainty qualities of finish, and to 
satisfy a real love of delicately studied completeness. 
He is a believer in elaboration that is properly 
controlled by a practical understanding of artistic 
exigencies, and that is helpful in explaining the 
purpose of the painter's effort, as opposed to 
merely niggling surface finish which has no 
meaning and no technical value. What he desires 
is to realise all the possibilities of his medium, 
sparing no trouble to attain to a full measure of 
expression, and grudging no labour that will enable 
him to reach the end he has in view. 

He is very strongly of opinion that the artist 
who aims at beauty of craftsmanship and who 
wishes also to make his work complete must 

J 3 J 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

frankly recognise the difficulties of water-colour 
painting, and must learn as quickly as he can the 
best way to overcome them. The way that he 
has himself adopted is to exercise extreme care 
in the preparatory stages of his painting, so as 
to escape the necessity of making any extensive 
alterations or corrections in the later stages, with 
the consequent danger of losing freshness and 
cleanness of touch. To establish at the outset a 
quite definite idea of what he proposes to do is, 
he holds, the surest aid to straightforward and 
successful accomplishment. 

Therefore, he usually makes a very careful 
study in pencil, charcoal, or pen and ink, or in all 
three combined, of the subject he has selected. 
He uses for this a thin O.W. paper which has the 
advantage of being semi-transparent and of having 
a smooth texture that facilitates the transference of 
the study to the paper on which the painting itself 
is to be executed. By working out the grouping 
of his figures and accessory objects in the pre- 
liminary drawing he is able, not only to settle his 

composition with some approach to finality, but also 

132 



MR. J. WALTER WEST 

to proceed with confidence when the actual painting 
begins and problems of colour have to be considered 
as well as those of form. 

After the drawing has been transferred he lays 
on his colour with all possible precision, working 
in a rather high key because he feels that it is 
better to tone down excessive brilliancy than to 
attempt to strengthen a colour passage which has 
been made too dull to start with. To help him in 
getting brightness of colour he chooses to work 
upon the smoothest and whitest boards he can 
obtain — this smooth surface, too, he finds helpful 
in the rendering of the texture of the polished 
furniture and floors which occur so often in his 
pictures, and it enables him also to remove the 
pigment cleanly right down to the white ground 
in places where he wishes to introduce particular 
accents of specially bright colour. Sometimes in a 
very brilliant passage he drags on the pure pigments 
dry and then fuses them together by the addition 
of a small drop of water. But in all the technical 
devices he employs he is consistent in his effort to 
keep his work fresh, pure, and vivacious, and yet at 

133 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

the same time to carry it to the fullest pitch of 
expression that the medium will allow. 

The use of body-colour he defends as an occa- 
sional expedient. As so many of the recognised 
water-colour pigments are themselves opaque he 
argues that it is somewhat illogical for the purists 
to deny opaque white to the water-colour painter, 
especially as there are certain effects of illumination 
which cannot be better suggested than by the con- 
trast between the solid, crumbly surface of body- 
colour in the lights and rich transparent washes in 
the shadows. His conviction is that the means by 
which the desired effect can be best produced 
is the one which the artist is entitled to adopt, 
and that hard and fast rules prescribing what is 
legitimate or not in the practice of an art are not 
desirable. In his own work he does not hesitate 
to use body-colour when he sees that it will help 
him to arrive at those qualities of colour and 
executive statement for which he is always seeking. 
His independence of view in matters of pro- 
cedure is what might fairly have been expected 
of him ; the study he has given to the practical 

J 34 




/. Walter West, R.W.S. 



THE PAROQUET — PENCIL SKETCH. 



MR. J. WALTER WEST 

side of water-colour painting has qualified him to 
think for himself on such questions, and has enabled 
him to choose surely the best way of reaching the 
result which seems to him to be right. 

The colours he generally uses are cobalt, 
ceruleum, cyanine blue, smalt, French ultramarine, 
ultramarine ash, emerald oxide of chromium, 
yellow ochre, golden ochre, cadmium, aureolin, 
light red, rose madder, ruby madder, purple 
madder, cobalt violet, Turner brown, burnt sienna, 
and raw umber, and occasionally terre verte, 
alizarin yellow, pink madder, vermilion, orange 
vermilion, and sepia, but he often makes changes 
in his palette. 



*35 



HINTS ON SKETCHING OUT OF DOORS 

One of the first essentials in the equipment of 
the out-of-door worker is an unfailing supply of 
patience. Painting in the open air is surrounded 
with a host of small difficulties which seem to have 
been specially provided by Nature to prevent her 
secrets being too easily discovered. Indeed, the 
attitude which Nature is apt to assume towards 
the sketcher's well-meant efforts to put himself 
properly in touch with her is a little impish and 
mischievous ; she teases him with petty annoyances 
none of which actually matters much, but which 
collectively do interfere a good deal with the 
maintenance of that spirit of quiet concentration 
which the serious student is always anxious to 
cultivate. But as these annoyances are inevitable 
the only possible course for the artist who desires 
to make the best use of his opportunities is to meet 

x 37 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

them philosophically and without impatience, and 
to try and circumvent them, if he can, by the 
right kind of contrivances. 

It is very important that the sketcher should 
avoid burdening himself with too complicated 
apparatus ; the simpler his equipment, indeed, the 
less likely is he to be worried by the natural 
difficulties of out-of-door working. Fortunately in 
water-colour painting there is no need to carry a 
great amount of material. For work of medium 
size a sketching block, a paint-box and water- 
bottle, and a folding stool will be sufficient ; the 
sketching block can be conveniently gripped 
between the knees and the paint-box can be held 
in the left hand or laid within reach on the ground. 
With things so disposed the sketcher can work in 
passable comfort ; the block is at a sufficient 
distance from the eye to enable him to see the 
effect of his sketch as a whole and to allow 
him to put on his touches at arm's length 
without any cramping of the movement of 
his hand, and he can hold the block so firmly 

with his knees that there is little danger of it 

138 



SKETCHING OUT OF DOORS 

being shaken by even the most violent gusts 
of wind. 

A gusty wind, it may be noted, is apt to be 
particularly troublesome when work is being done 
on a scale large enough to make necessary the use 
of an easel. Unless the easel is securely anchored 
by being tied to a convenient post, and unless the 
block or board is made quite fast to the easel by 
a clip or by some other trustworthy device, the 
whole thing is certain to blow over sooner or later 
— and this unpleasant accident usually occurs at a 
critical moment in the work, when the sketch is 
most likely to be irreparably damaged by falling face 
downwards on the ground. The easel, of course, 
must be reasonably light, or else it will become 
rather a serious addition to the sketcher's outfit ; 
but it must be rigid and strong enough to bear 
the strain of being weighted if necessary to keep 
it steady. A heavy stone tied to it, pendulum 
fashion, will often prevent its being blown over by 
an ordinary wind ; and spiked legs are desirable 
because when they are driven some distance into 
soft ground the easel is much less likely to be 

139 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

moved either by the wind or by the pressure of 
the hand. 

There is one objection, however, to the use of 
an easel in out-of-door sketching — the angle at 
which the work is set cannot be varied without a 
good deal of troublesome rearrangement. To meet 
this difficulty many artists adopt, instead of an 
easel, a portfolio which rests upon the knees and 
is supported from behind by a stick driven into 
the ground. This device is useful because the 
portfolio can be instantly tilted at any angle which 
may be desirable, and yet it is held securely enough 
to prevent its shifting unexpectedly. Of course, 
work of large size cannot be done this way because 
it cannot be set at more than a moderate distance 
from the eye, and the sketcher cannot walk back 
to judge the effect of bold touches as he can when 
his board is fixed upon an easel. But, as a general 
principle, it is not desirable to attempt very large 
work in water-colour out of doors ; things which 
can be finished in one or two sittings are preferable 
to those which have to be spread over several days. 

Water-colour, it must be remembered, is essentially 

140 



SKETCHING OUT OF DOORS 

a medium for the rapid expression of a fleeting 
impression, — for direct and significant summing 
up of the facts of a subject seen under particular 
conditions, — and it is not so well suited as oils for 
painting large pictures in the open air. The artist 
who realises that the medium has certain natural 
limitations, and who restrains his ambition to try 
and use it in ways that are not altogether appro- 
priate, is the most likely to arrive at the best 
results. He will be less hampered by mechanical 
difficulties, and he will have a better chance of 
producing work that is right in manner and 
distinguished by really sound qualities. 

The water-colour painter would be well ad- 
vised never to sit in such a position that the direct 
sunlight can fall upon his work. A sheet of white 
paper in sunlight is a very dazzling thing to look 
at and in a very short time tires the eye so much 
that the exact judging of gradations of tone and 
colour becomes almost impossible. Moreover, the 
strong light makes the colours which are being 
put upon the paper seem much more brilliant than 

they really are, and consequently the sketch when 

141 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

it is brought indoors looks dull and monotonous 
and often excessively low in tone. Another trouble, 
caused by the heat of the sun, is the too rapid 
drying of the washes, and the consequent loss of 
the delicacy and breadth of effect which come 
from the proper blending of touches while they 
remain damp. A sketch done in the direct sun is 
apt to be hard and unsympathetic, without subtlety 
of modelling, and with many abrupt edges to the 
washes. It will certainly lack some of the more 
desirable qualities of well-controlled water-colour 
work. 

Therefore, the sketcher in choosing a place to 
work should try to get into the shadow of a tree 
or a hedge, and if this is impossible should so dispose 
himself that the sketch block can be stood with its 
back to the sun. There is no real necessity for 
him always to face his subject ; he can quite easily 
acquire the habit of looking over his shoulder at 
the scene he is representing, and the small incon- 
venience of having to turn his head frequently to 
study his subject is much less worrying than the 

effort to see what he is doing in a glare of sunlight. 

142 



SKETCHING OUT OF DOORS 

He can, of course, provide himself with an 
umbrella, but this is a rather burdensome addition 
to his necessary apparatus and is very likely to 
annoy him by blowing over when he least expects 
it. There is, too, a rather serious objection to the 
ordinary sketching umbrella, that being made of 
comparatively thin, light-coloured canvas, it not 
only fails to cast an opaque shadow but also throws 
upon the work a certain amount of yellowish 
colour which has a deceptive effect and often 
induces the artist to record inaccurately the shades 
of colour which he sees in nature. As a con- 
sequence of working in a half-veiled, warm light, 
he is not unlikely to make his sketch unpleasantly 
cold and colourless. 

He must be warned, also, against allowing a 
strong reflection from any coloured surface near by 
to fall upon his work — the reflection, for instance, 
from a red brick wall with the sun shining on it 
would be very disconcerting and would interfere 
with his judgment of colour subtleties. Many a 
sketch has been spoiled by the artist's failure to 
take into account matters of this sort which are 

H3 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

seemingly of small importance, so it is as well to 
insist somewhat strongly upon the need for con- 
sidering, when a subject is being selected, how the 
surroundings will affect the sketcher's comfort. 
There are plenty of other small disadvantages, 
some of them obvious enough, which he must be 
prepared to avoid ; but with a little experience he 
will soon get into the way of looking out for them 
and anticipating them instinctively. The more he 
learns to recognise what are the mechanical troubles 
he has to overcome the better will be the results 
at which he arrives. 

One thing he will certainly have to be pre- 
pared for is the difference in the behaviour of the 
medium under varying conditions of weather and 
even at different times of the day. In dull, damp 
weather the washes will dry much more slowly 
than on a warm, sunny day when the air is free 
from moisture ; and in the evening they will 
hardly dry at all. To obviate this difficulty some 
artists carry a small spirit lamp as part of their 
sketching outfit and use it, when necessary, to hasten 

the drying of their work. But, generally, the 

144 



SKETCHING OUT OF DOORS 

sketcher will be wise not to attempt on damp 
days, or in the evening time, subjects which 
require very exact definition, or in which there is 
much small detail that has to be crisply and firmly 
expressed ; he will succeed better with broad 
generalisations and with soft atmospheric effects 
which can be treated with a certain amount of 
indefiniteness. It is as well, also, when working 
under these conditions, to use water rather spar- 
ingly — if the colours are moistened only just enough 
to enable them to be laid upon the paper, and if 
any tendency to sloppiness is avoided, the work is 
not so likely to get out of control, and there will 
be a reasonable chance of the touches drying. 

The way in which a landscape subject should 
be treated must necessarily depend to a consider- 
able extent upon the artist's preference and inten- 
tion ; the exercise of an individual taste in selection 
and in methods of expression is always better than 
subservience to an accepted convention. But the 
sketcher can be recommended to strive after two 
things, the capacity to see his subject as a whole, 

and rapidity in setting down the results of his 

145 L 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

observation. He should aim at completeness in 

the statement of the general effect of the motive 

he has selected, at the rapid summing up of the 

matters which he recognises as vitally important, 

before he begins to elaborate the smaller pictorial 

details. The practical advantage of this manner 

of working lies in the fact that a sketch so dealt 

with has much more value as a record of nature 

than one which has been commenced without 

sufficient consideration of the main essentials. 

It must be remembered that the atmospheric 

effect which often makes a subject worth painting, 

is, as a rule, a very fleeting thing, and that it is 

quite likely to change completely before any 

detailed record of it can be secured. But if the 

artist has grasped the main facts of the motive 

intelligently and has set them down from the first 

in their right relation, his sketch, no matter how 

slight it may be, will have an appreciable measure 

of vitality and significance. Even if it has to be 

left unfinished because the atmospheric effect has 

changed, the incomplete note will be of some 

permanent importance as a suggestion of an 

146 



SKETCHING OUT OF DOORS 

attractive phase of nature, and will be helpful as 
a guide in working out a more deliberate picture 
on some future occasion. The merest blot which 
sums up suggestively a big effect is more worth 
possessing than an unfinished study of detail which 
realises only part of the subject and conveys no 
intelligible impression of the broad aspect of the 
landscape. 

Of course, the artist who intends to use his 
out-of-door sketches as material for more elaborate 
indoor work must do more than take notes of 
atmospheric effects ; he must make studies — many 
careful and precise studies — of the smaller details 
which have to be introduced into the pictures he 
proposes to paint. Without a very thorough grasp 
of broad effects, however, he will not be able to 
combine these details properly, and to make them 
keep their right place in a painting slowly evolved 
and deliberately worked out. Details which 
demand more attention than they are entitled to 
receive are only defects in an otherwise well- 
constructed picture. 

Roughly, the way to manage a landscape 

147 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

sketch is to lay in first the large forms of the sky 
with its chief varieties of colour and light and 
shade, then to define the middle distance, observ- 
ing carefully not only its colour but the exact tone 
relation which it bears to the sky, and lastly to 
state definitely and broadly the foreground masses, 
the big spaces of tone and colour into which, if 
time permits, the smaller facts of the subject can 
be introduced later on. Not much preliminary 
drawing is necessary, a few pencil marks as guides 
to the placing of the main things in the construc- 
tion of the subject will be sufficient ; it is better 
to draw the sketch as far as possible with the 
brush, both for the sake of saving time and to 
secure greater freedom of expression. This lay-in 
will give a quite effective summing up of the 
subject as a whole, and as it can be done in a few 
minutes, when once the power of rapid statement 
has been acquired, it fixes clearly the character of 
even a quickly changing effect. By the time the 
foreground has been filled in, the sky should have 
dried sufficiently for the addition of the smaller 

modellings of the clouds and the more subtle 

148 



SKETCHING OUT OF DOORS 

variations of colour, and then, in turn, the middle 

distance and the foreground can be carried a stage 

further. In this way the work will progress stage 

by stage without upsetting the relation between 

the different parts of the sketch, which is treated 

as a whole and brought all over to the same 

degree of development at each stage. This 

systematic mode of procedure is the best that can 

be adopted because it ensures a logical expression 

of the artist's idea, and because it enables him to 

produce a piece of work that has at each stage its 

appropriate measure of meaning. Such a sketch, 

in fact, is right from the beginning, and prolonged 

labour on it, though no doubt needful to convert 

suggestion into actuality, does not increase its 

truth to nature — indeed, a really brilliant sketch, 

finely felt and confidently handled, may quite 

possibly lose some of its freshness and charm if it 

is " finished " in the popular sense. 

Therefore the sketcher must be at some pains 

to understand the difference between the right 

kind of finish and mere surface elaboration. No 

artistic end is gained by carrying a sketch further 

149 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

than is absolutely necessary to express the character 

of the subject chosen and to present it under its 

appropriate aspect. In other words, there is 

always in out-of-door work a particular moment 

when the artist ought to leave off, and he should 

train himself to recognise with something like 

certainty when this moment has arrived. How 

to begin and when to stop are things he must 

know if he desires to produce paintings which 

have the qualities by which the really good sketch 

is distinguished — how to grasp the vital essentials 

of his subject and how to avoid waste of labour 

in worrying out unimportant trivialities which 

complicate the record of nature without making it 

more significant. 

So, it can be seen that sketching out of doors, 

if it is to be successfully attempted, needs thought 

and observation, a sense of artistic fitness and a 

capacity to grasp quickly and to record with 

certainty a vivid impression. It is not a form of 

pictorial achievement which admits of hesitation, 

or even of prolonged deliberation ; it cannot be 

controlled by the precise and comfortable methods 

150 



SKETCHING OUT OF DOORS 

of the studio, and it has to be practised under 
conditions which are always a little difficult and 
sometimes actually disconcerting. But it is well 
worth all the trouble it involves because most 
surely it brings the artist into close contact with 
Nature and teaches him her secrets correctly and 
intelligibly. The really accomplished sketcher, 
who knows what to do and how it should be done, 
holds a place of the highest importance in the art 
world. 



IS 1 



TEMPERA AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO 
WATER-COLOUR 

Although tempera is scarcely to be counted as 
a true water-colour medium it is well worth the 
attention of the water-colour painter, because it 
has certain qualities which he will be able to 
appreciate and certain executive capabilities which 
he can turn to good account. Tempera, in fact, 
occupies a kind of intermediate position between 
water - colour and oil ; it has some of the 
characteristics of both with, in addition, definite 
peculiarities which are all its own. It can be 
used, too, for a wide variety of subjects both out 
of doors and in the studio, and it presents no 
special technical difficulties which cannot be 
mastered by the worker who gives the neces- 
sary amount of thought to the mechanism of 
his art. 

*S3 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

The chief constituent in the vehicle with 
which the tempera colours are mixed is egg 
albumen — white or yolk of egg — and this causes 
the colours to dry very rapidly. This rapid 
drying is one of the peculiarities of tempera, a 
very salient peculiarity which has to be accepted 
by every one who wishes to make the right use 
of the medium. It prevents tempera being em- 
ployed with the breadth and fluency of handling 
which are so eminently possible in pure water- 
colour, but it enables the artist to state the details 
of his subject with certainty and with considerable 
speed, because he has only to wait a few minutes 
for his touches to dry, and because he can work 
over and amplify almost immediately what he has 
already set down. 

Naturally, with a medium which dries in this 
way, the artist cannot expect to make his effects by 
means of broad washes floated on to the paper and 
subtly blended while they remain wet ; he must 
adopt a crisper mode of handiwork, and must set 
his touches side by side without counting so much 
upon their running together. But, if he accepts 

*54 



TEMPERA AS AN ALTERNATIVE 

this limitation he can use tempera much as he 
would water-colour, transparently upon white 
paper ; and he will find it quite pleasant to manage 
and quite effective in its results. The more 
directly he works, the franker his brushwork and 
the more decisive his handling, the better will he 
respect the genius of the medium. Certainly he 
must not fumble or use his brush in a hesitating 
way ; he can build up his effects of colour and 
tone more tellingly by superimposing successive 
touches than by trying to drag together colours 
which are rapidly drying. This superimposition 
of touch on touch is a comparatively easy matter 
because as soon as the under work has dried it 
cannot be disturbed except by treatment which is 
unnecessarily rough. 

This transparent tempera work, discreetly 
managed, has both force and luminosity, and it 
should have, as well, an attractive freedom of 
manner. Of course some care must be taken to 
avoid the opacity which might come from laying 
on the pigments too thickly — by loading the paper 
over-heavily the brilliancy of the effect of the 

*S5 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

painting is diminished because the white surface 
beneath is prevented from shining sufficiently 
through the colours laid upon it — but a little 
practice will soon enable the artist to judge how 
far he can go in the direction of richness and 
weight of colour without sacrificing the trans- 
parency of his work. He must not forget that it 
is decidedly difficult to lighten a tempera painting 
by washing or rubbing, when the pigments are 
once set, for the egg medium becomes when dry 
practically insoluble ; so it is unwise to lay in his 
picture too vehemently at the beginning with the 
idea of washing it down to the right degree of 
tenderness later on, as he would an ordinary water- 
colour painting. 

The other way in which tempera can be used 
— the more usual way, indeed — is much like 
working in oils. The pigments are mixed with 
white and laid solidly upon paper or canvas ; and 
the lights are painted thickly instead of being left, 
as they have to be in the transparent method. 
Almost any kind of paper will serve, but perhaps 

the most agreeable to work on is a moderately 

156 



TEMPERA AS AN ALTERNATIVE 

rough -surfaced pastel paper — preferably a grey 
one. If it is too dark a tint the paintings on it 
will be either too low in tone or will have to be 
loaded rather heavily to overcome the darkness of 
the ground ; so it is better to choose one which 
will give just sufficient backing to the semi-trans- 
parent dark passages of the painting and yet will 
not make necessary any very heavy handling of the 
lights. If canvas is preferred, the best for general 
purposes is one of rather fine grain and prepared 
with an absorbent ground, white or tinted ; to 
this the tempera pigments will adhere quite firmly. 
But whatever may be the material selected by 
the artist to work upon, he should not forget 
that the medium is one which allows him full 
scope for decisive handling and direct brushwork. 
It is as well to warn him against the pedantic 
technical mannerism which has been adopted by 
some of the modern tempera painters — an affectation 
due to their unwise desire to imitate the methods 
of the early Italian painters, who applied their 
pigments with excessive preciseness and aimed at 
a laboured smoothness of surface. This archaic 

157 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

kind of execution has, of course, its measure of 
archaeological interest, but it is not to be accepted 
as the only, or even the best one for modern use. 
A medium which lends itself well to robust treat- 
ment, which approximates to oils in its possibilities 
of vigorous executive statement, and which offers 
opportunities for a wide variety of individual 
expression, should not be limited by a tradition 
which is based more or less upon a misapprehension. 
The early Italian tempera pictures were precise 
and smooth because at the time when they were 
produced precision and smoothness were accepted 
as essential principles in Italian art, not because the 
medium could not be legitimately employed in 
ways that were more spontaneous and flexible. 

The quick-drying properties of tempera are 
just as evident in solid painting as in the transparent 
work ; and they are in many ways exceedingly 
useful. That they to some degree prevent that 
blending and fusing together of touches which can 
be so easily managed in oils can be admitted, but 
they make possible a good deal of delicate semi- 
transparent overpainting which can be used most 

158 



TEMPERA AS AN ALTERNATIVE 

effectively to give subtlety to a tempera picture. 
A vigorous lay-in can be completed by judicious 
over-work within comparatively few minutes, and 
without any destruction of the underpainting if 
ordinary care is taken in handling the pigments ; 
and on a sharply granulated surface — like the 
antiponce pastel paper for instance — it is possible 
to add finishing touches over the underpainting 
almost immediately, and therefore to carry a sketch 
to completion with very great rapidity. It is best 
in painting on such a ground to thin the pigments 
considerably with the tempera medium for the 
first lay-in and to use them more solidly for the 
over-work, as with the thin colour the large 
masses of the subject and the main facts of the 
effect can be most tellingly blocked in, and with 
the solid pigment the details which give brill- 
iancy and completeness to the picture can be 
most surely realised. Moreover, the thin colour 
sinks at once into the depressions of the granulated 
ground, while the solid touches lie rather on the 
projections, so what risk there may be of the under- 
painting working up is almost entirely obviated. 

i59 



MIXED MEDIUMS 

There are certain possible ways of combining 
water-colour with other mediums and of arriving 
by such combinations at technical effects which 
are quite interesting and perfectly legitimate. 
One of these mixed methods is that which was 
employed by the earliest water-colourists who 
produced the tinted drawings once so much in 
vogue for topographical illustration. These tinted 
drawings — carefully denned outlines filled in with 
flat washes of colour — were mechanical and con- 
ventional enough, but they had executive capabili- 
ties which have been recognised and developed by 
later artists. At the present time, indeed, there is 
much good work being done by painters who bring 
most agreeably the pen or pencil line into associa- 
tion with the water-colour wash, and who gain by 

this executive device a particular freshness of effect. 

161 m 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

A combination of line and wash is, of course, 
very commonly used in rapid sketching — in what 
may be called the shorthand notes made by an 
artist who wishes to set down the main facts of a 
subject that he has not time to record elaborately. 
But many men adopt this method for finished 
paintings and carry it to a considerable pitch of 
completeness. It . is frequently applied with 
success to the treatment of architectural motives 
which require to be realised with rigid accuracy 
and in which the clear definition of forms is 
desirable ; and it is not uncommon in paintings of 
figure subjects and in black-and-white work for 
illustration. In pure landscape paintings it is 
more rarely employed, though even here instances 
could be quoted of the happy management of pen 
work to accentuate and define the broader touches 
of the brush, and to give precision of statement to 
the smaller details of the subject. 

Much of the charm of this mixed method 

depends upon the quality of the line employed. 

It must be sensitive and expressive, rich and free 

rather than mechanically exact, and it must not be 

162 



MIXED MEDIUMS 

unduly obtrusive. A thin, wiry line would com- 
bine badly with brushwork and would have a 
poverty-stricken effect ; and it would certainly be 
lacking in character. The best results are, perhaps, 
to be obtained by using a reed pen, which, though 
less flexible than the ordinary steel pen, produces 
a firm, well-defined line that is in itself full of 
meaning and yet approximates in character to one 
drawn with the brush. The reed pen, moreover, 
requires to be handled with some decision, and 
therefore does not allow the artist to fumble 
with his drawing or to put in tentative touches 
with the idea of labouring them into correctness 
afterwards. 

It is, possibly, as well to point out that the 
combination of line and wash is not one which 
can wisely be attempted by any one whose 
draughtsmanship is uncertain. Weakness in draw- 
ing is, of course, always a fault to be deplored 
and to be striven against by every water-colour 
painter, but in pure wash work it can sometimes 
be hidden by the exercise of a little discretion 

and by some cultivation of the accidental qualities 

163 m 2 



WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

of water-colour. But a line, whether it is made 
with a pen, a pencil, or a chalk point, shows 
plainly any weakness there may be in it, and it 
advertises mercilessly the artist's errors in draughts- 
manship and imperfections of technical style. 
Therefore this particular mixed method should 
not be practised without due consideration and a 
certain amount of self-examination — real success 
with it is possible only to the artist who has been 
soundly trained and who has had a reasonable 
amount of technical experience. 

Pastel is another medium which can be 
associated not unpleasantly with water-colour. 
The combination, indeed, is one which has been 
used by many artists of repute — the late G. H. 
Boughton can be quoted as a prominent example — 
who have produced in this way paintings which 
are far too important to be dismissed as merely 
freakish experiments. At first sight, no doubt, 
there seems to be some degree of incongruity in 
an alliance between the dry, crumbling texture of 
the pastel chalks and the even flatness of the fluid 

water-colour wash. This incongruity is, however, 

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MIXED MEDIUMS 

more imaginary than real ; the two surface 

textures do assimilate sufficiently to make the 

effect of the work quite agreeable. The result is 

naturally something of a compromise, but the 

inclination is rather in the direction of the pastel 

quality than towards that of water-colour, and the 

completed painting has the effect of a piece of 

pastel work in which the chalk surface has been 

flattened by rubbing or pressure. 

The best way of working this mixed method 

is to begin by drawing in the main effect of the 

subject with the dry pastel, and to rub the chalk 

touches firmly into the rough surface of the paper 

with the finger or a stump. Then, after any loose 

dust there may be has been shaken or blown off, 

the water-colour washes should be laid freely over 

the pastel drawing with sufficient brush pressure 

to spread the wash properly without any excessive 

scrubbing up of the work below. Water must be 

used liberally at first, because there is a good deal 

of resistance in the granulation of the paper, and 

the wash unless it is decidedly wet will not lie 

evenly. This first wetting of the pastel has a 

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WATER-COLOUR PAINTING 

rather disconcerting effect, as it greatly darkens the 
chalk touches and seems to remove many of them 
entirely ; but, as the washes dry, the pastel returns 
to its right colours, and the greater part of it will 
be found to be still adhering to the paper. 

In finishing the work after this first wetting 
the order of procedure can be varied as may seem 
convenient. When the surface of the paper is 
dry again fresh work in pastel can be added and 
then more washes superimposed, and the two 
mediums can be used alternately until the desired 
degree of completeness is attained. Or the painting 
can be advanced considerably in water-colour only, 
and finished at the last by free pastel touches 
applied to give accents of colour or sharp definition 
of forms. The process is one which allows much 
scope for individuality of expression, and it is not 
difficult to control. 

It has, too, some really practical advantages. 

Pastel when combined with wash can be taken as 

a substitute for body-colour, inasmuch as its opacity 

is sufficient to allow of its being used for the 

addition of light touches over dark. But there are 

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MIXED MEDIUMS 

more luminosity and better colour quality in pastel 
than in pigments which are made opaque by the 
admixture of Chinese white, so that more brilliant 
effects can be obtained by combining coloured 
chalks with water-colour washes. The pastel, 
again, is firmly set by being worked over with 
water-colour, and therefore even if free pastel 
touches are used, without any setting, in the final 
stage of the painting, the main facts of the picture 
are solidly established and subsequent ill-usage 
cannot do more than destroy details which are 
small and comparatively unessential — it will only 
remove what is absolutely on the surface ; the rest 
will remain. That the purist will object to such 
a mixture of mediums is quite possible, for the 
purist is always opposed to technical compromises ; 
but even a compromise is permissible if it can 
be proved by experience to be convenient and 
workable. 



Printed by R. & R. Clark, Limited, Edinburgh.